April 15, 2010
HONOLULU - Not only will Louisiana Tech be playing the top team in the Western Athletic Conference standings this weekend in the 25th ranked Hawaii Rainbow Wahine, but the Lady Techsters will be facing a lineup that is on pace to shatter the NCAA single season home run record.
Tech faces Hawaii Friday at 11 p.m. CT and Saturday at 9 p.m. CT (doubleheader) at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Complex.
Hawaii (33-11, 11-0 WAC) is perfect in league play through four WAC series and has already hit 106 home runs on the year, 26 more than its closest competitor in Georgia Tech. The Rainbow Wahine are also only 20 home runs away from breaking the single season mark of 126 set by Arizona in 2001 when the Wildcats won the NCAA national title.
UH boasts a lineup that features national Freshman of the Year candidate Kelly Majam, who leads the country with 23 home runs while batting .399 on the season. However, Majam isn't the only slugger as she is joined by Jessica Itawa (.398, 13 HR), Melissa Gonzalez (.390, 15 HR), Amanda Tauali'I (.313, 11 HR), Jenna Rodriquez (.312, 10 HR), Alexandra Aguirre (.292, 8 HR) and Katie Grimes (.291, 8 HR).
As a team, Hawaii is averaging almost 2.5 home runs per game this year but in WAC-only games, the Rainbow Wahine have hit 43 home runs in 11 games, or almost four per contest.
Tech (21-12, 6-3 WAC) enters the series alone in third place in the WAC standings and it will have its own weapon in junior hurler Meghan Krieg (16-9, 2.06 ERA). The reigning two-time WAC Pitcher of the Week boasts some pretty impressive numbers of her own entering this weekend.
In 17 career starts against WAC teams in regular season play, Krieg is 15-1 with a 1.80 earned run average. The league leader in strikeouts with 203 this season, Krieg has two career wins over Hawaii, an 8-1 victory in Ruston during the regular season last year when she recorded 14 strikeouts and a 7-1 win over the Rainbow Wahine in the first round of the 2009 WAC Tournament in Fresno.
Hawaii's pitching staff includes the one-two punch of Stephanie Ricketts (17-6, 2.36 ERA) and Kaia Parnaby (15-5, 2.53 ERA). Ricketts pitched a no-hitter and a one-hitter against the Lady Techsters last year in Ruston in the two games the Rainbow Wahine won.
Hawaii leads the all-time series against LA Tech 24-6 although the Lady Techsters have won three of the last seven. Tech also returns to the site of its 2008 WAC Tournament championship run when the Lady Techsters won four games in four days against Top 25 teams in advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
The games can be heard streamed live by logging onto www.latechsports.com and clicking on the audio stream link on the softball schedule. Tech fans can also follow it via gametracker on the LA Tech athletics website.