Rainbow Wahine open World Series bid

June 3, 2010, 6:28 AM HST · Updated June 3, 6:28 AM
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By Fred Guzman

MauiNow.com

Members of the Rainbow Wahine softball team have been on the road so long – three and a half weeks, to be exact – that anyplace they lay their heads – or bats — seems to become home.

First, it was Las Cruces, N.M., for a successful run in the WAC tournament. Then, it was off to Palo Alto, Calif., and a sweep of the Stanford Regional.

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Over the past weekend, the Wahine found themselves in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where they took two of three games against the top-seeded host Crimson Tide to reach the NCAA softball World Series for the first time in program history.

Today in Oklahoma City, the 16th-seededd Rainbows open their bid in the eight-team national tournament, facing ninth-seeded Missouri in an opening round game that is scheduled for a 7 a.m. start, Hawaii time, and will be aired on ESPN.

Fueled by a high-powered offense that has hammered an NCAA record 154 homers this season, UH brings a 49-14 mark into today’s game. Missouri is 51-11.

If the Rainbow Wahine win, they would play the winner of today’s game between fourth-seeded Florida (48-8) and fifth-seeded UCLA (45-11) at 1 p.m. (Hawai’i time) tomorrow.

A loss to Missouri today means playing the loser of the Gators-Bruins on Saturday at 6 a.m. (Hawai’i time) in an elimination game, with another potential game to follow at 1 p.m. that day.

DIAMOND NOTES: It was a golden weekend on the diamond for three teams from the Aloha State. The University of Hawaii qualified for its first-ever NCAA softball World Series with a stunning upset of top-seeded host Alabama in the Super Regionals. The Baseball Bows earned an unlikely berth in the NCAA baseball tourney. And, to cap things off, Hawaii Pacific captured the NCAA national softball title.

Hawaii completed a stunning run in Tuscaloosa, Ala., going the maximum three games in eliminating top-seeded host in the softball Super Regionals. After being routed 8-0 in Friday’s opener, UH rebounded for a pair of dramatic wins to oust Alabama. In Friday’s nightcap, UH squandered a 6-0 lead and held on for a nail-biting 8-7 victory over the Crimson Tide, ending Alabama’s 28-game winning streak.

In Saturday’s decisive game, Hawaii overcame a 16-strikeout performance by Kelsi Dunne to post a 5-4 victory on Jenna Rodriguez’ two-run walkoff homer. It was her second blast of the game and increased UH’s national single-season record to 154.

The UH baseball team, which spent the regular season struggling to qualify for the WAC tourney, capped a spectacular recent run by beating regular-season champ Fresno Sate 9-6 in the WAC championship game held in Mesa, Ariz. The Bows didn’t have to travel far for its NCAA regional tournament. UH is assigned to the Arizona State regional and opens Friday versus San Diego State. The top-seeded Sun Devils and Wisconsin-Milwaukee round out the regional field.

HPU won the national D-II crown with a 4-3 win over Valdosta State in the title game in St. Joseph, Mo.

TEXEIRA OUT: Kanekoa Texeira’s stint with the Seattle Mariners is over. The rookie reliever was claimed from the New York Yankees in the Rule 5 draft, but was designated for assignment by the struggling Mariners. That means the right-hander can be claimed off waivers by another team or be reclaimed by the Yankees.

Texeira struggled in recent outings, allowing six earned runs over four innings in his last five appearances. Before then, the 24-year-old from Kula gave up just one run over 10 innings. Texeira’s overall numbers with Seattle include a 0-1 record and a 5.30 ERA, giving up 22 hits and 10 walks with 14 strikeouts over 18.2 innings in 16 bullpen outings.

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