Softball

Techsters Face 14th Ranked Hawaii

April 12, 2012

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HONOLULU - Coming off a three-game sweep of defending Western Athletic Conference champion New Mexico State last weekend, Louisiana Tech will face its toughest test of the season when it travels to play 14th ranked Hawaii in a three-game series on the Island Friday and Saturday.

The series begins Friday night with a single game at 11 p.m. CT (6 p.m. HT) followed by a Saturday doubleheader starting at 7 p.m. CT (2 p.m. HT). All three games can be heard live over the internet by clicking on the Listen Live link attached to the pregame story at www.latechsports.com.

Tech (18-20, 5-3 WAC) currently sits in a two-way tie for third place in the highly-competitive eight-team WAC, but the next two weekends will be challenging with a total of six games against Hawaii Brigham Young.

Hawaii (32-4, 6-2 WAC) leads the all-time series against LA Tech 29-7, including an 11-3 record in Honolulu. The Rainbow Wahine have won five of the last six meetings the past two years with the lone LA Tech victory being a 1-0 win last year in Ruston.

Hawaii enters the weekend with a pitching staff that ranks No. 4 in the nation with a cumulative 1.03 team earned run average. Stephanie Ricketts (20-2) has a 0.93 ERA, which ranks sixth nationally, and has allowed opponents to bat only .163 against her in 150.2 innings in the circle. Kaia Parnaby (12-2) has a 1.20 ERA and has held the opposition to a .182 batting average.

Tech has posted two wins over Ricketts in her career - Ricketts is 5-2 against LA Tech - despite the fact that the senior has been dominating, allowing only four earned runs and 21 hits in 46.2 career innings against the Lady Techsters.

Offensively, Hawaii also ranks among the national leaders with 47 home runs led by Kelly Majam (.253, 8 HR, 16 RBI), Jessica Iwata (.380, 7 HR, 37 RBI) and Leisha Li'ili'I (.323, 7 HR, 28 RBI).

After starting the season 21-0, Hawaii has gone 11-4 in its last 15 games. Its four losses have come against No. 6 Texas (4-0), No. 21 Texas A&M (3-1), San Jose State (4-2) and BYU (7-3). The Rainbow Wahine have wins against Top 25 teams in No. 1 California (3-1) and twice against No. 20 Florida State (3-1, 1-0).

The Lady Techsters look to bounce back after a disappointing 3-0 loss at Northwestern State on Tuesday in a game that saw LA Tech register only one hit.

Tech, which has already surpassed its win total from last season and which is attempting to remain as one of only three WAC programs that have qualified for each of the league tournaments since it was reinstated in 2006, knows the importance of this weekend's series.

The Lady Techster pitching staff has been impressive in its own right, especially in conference play where it has a 2.02 team earned run average. Michelle Jones (11-9, 2.38 ERA), Janna Frandrup (2-3, 0.72 ERA) and Erin Kipp (5-5, 5.32 ERA) will have to limit the Hawaii offense in its home ballpark. Tech's pitchers have held their opponents to two runs or less in five of the eight league games.

Offensively, Tech will need continued production throughout its order led by Melanie Goff (.388, 1 HR, 15 RBI), Janna Frandrup (.357, 2 HR, 25 RBI), Erin Kipp (.302, 2 HR, 15 RBI), Amanda Krueger (.257, 32 runs, 12 RBI) and Katelynn Hill (.247, 5 HR, 15 RBI).

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