Wahine fall 2-1
in bid to extend
their season

Hawaii loses to Southwest Texas St.
and is ousted from the NCAA tournament

AUSTIN, Texas >> Hawaii's bid to extend its softball season came up a run short.

And a foot long.

The Wahine's failure to capitalize on several scoring opportunities was too much to overcome -- even for pitcher Melissa Coogan -- as Hawaii fell 2-1 to Southwest Texas State yesterday in an elimination game of the NCAA Region 3 softball tournament at the University of Texas' McCombs Field.

Hawaii (40-20) had stayed alive with an earlier 4-2 win over Arizona State, but left seven runners on base against Southwest Texas pitcher Nicole Neuerburg (34-8).

The most frustrating inning was the third, when Justina Kahaku couldn't attempt to score a game-tying run from third on April Crowell's fly ball to short center field.

"(Kahaku) went back to tag and got her foot behind the bag," said Hawaii coach Bob Coolen, who opted not to test SWT's strong-armed center fielder Kristen Zaleski with just one out. "Any other runner I would send if they were in proper position. But she wasn't in proper position and was a step behind (the bag).

"I'm aggressive on the bases, but I didn't want to set her up for failure at that time with the hitters we had coming up."

Stacey Porter, who was hitting .636 (7-for-11) in the tournament, was intentionally walked and then Neuerburg struck out Trisha Ramos to end the threat.

Neuerburg also stranded two runners in the fourth and then retired nine of 10 hitters to close out the win.

Coogan (32-11), who pitched 35 2/3 innings during the tournament, was again excellent as she limited Southwest Texas (46-17-1) to just three hits.

"I have to admit that I'm a little tired and have been hurting here and there," Coogan said. "My pitching was different and I couldn't control the ball well. I was also slowing down my pitches."

But Coogan still held Southwest Texas largely in check until her defense betrayed her.

An errant pick-off attempt by catcher Denise Dahlberg enabled Southwest Texas' Ashley Koop to score in the first inning.

Then in the third inning an obstructing-the-runner call put Zaleski at third base and she scored on Koop's single up the middle.

Hawaii scored its lone run in the first on Porter's double that drove in Tracie Uchima, who led off with a single.

But the Wahine were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position after that.

"We had the right runners on base with the right batters at several times, especially when we were down 2-1," Coolen said. "We swung the bats and nothing happened."

That wasn't a problem for the Wahine against Arizona State. Hawaii scored three runs in the first inning and Coogan scattered seven hits to eliminate the Sun Devils.

Uchima and Crowell started the rally with singles and Porter followed with a double to bring in Uchima. Marie Jackson then added a two-run single to right.

Arizona State managed a run in the first inning, but left four runners on base against Coogan.

The Sun Devils did pull within a run in the fourth when Adriana Garcia doubled in Wright, but Hawaii answered again in the bottom of the inning. Dahlberg tripled to right-center field, scrambled to her feet as a wild relay throw skipped into foul ground and beat a throw to the plate.

Hawaii 4, Arizona State 2

Arizona State 100 100 0 -- 2 7 3

Hawaii 300 100 0 -- 4 9 0

Ashley Werschky, Desiree Serrano (4) and Adriana Garcia; Melissa Coogan and Denise Dahlberg. W -- Coogan. L -- Werschky.

Leading hitters -- Arizona State: Phelan Wright 2-3, run; Kara Brun 1-3, RBI; Garcia 1-3, 2b, RBI; Jennifer Forner 1-2, 2b, run. Hawaii: Stacey Porter 2-3, 2b, RBI, run; Kate Judd 3-2, 2b; Dahlberg 1-3, 3b, run; Marie Jackson 1-3, 2 RBIs; April Crowell 1-3, run.

Southwest Texas 2, Hawaii 1

Southwest Texas 101 000 0 -- 2 3 2

Hawaii 100 000 0 -- 1 4 3

Nicole Neuerburg and Ryan Stukel; Melissa Coogan and Denise Dahlberg. W -- Neuerburg. L -- Coogan.

Leading hitters -- Southwest Texas: Ashley Koop 2-3, RBI, run; Kristen Zaleski 1-3, 2b, run. Hawaii: Stacey Porter 1-2, 2b, RBI; Tracie Uchima 1-3, run.

UH Athletics


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