Tech Softball Blasts Hawaii 7-1

FRESNO -- Less than 10 hours after being named the 2009 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Amberly Waits showed why.

The junior shortstop was 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI to lead Louisiana Tech to a 7-1 win over Hawaii on the first day of the WAC Tournament at Bulldog Diamond in Fresno. While Waits was triggering the offensive explosion, sophomore Meghan Krieg kept the Hawaii bats at bay, throwing a complete-game victory while working out of some early inning jams.

With the victory, Tech advances to a match-up with the second seed and Co-WAC regular season champion Nevada Wolf Pack Thursday at 2:15 p.m. CST. The game can be heard on KPCH 99.3 FM, and Nevada advanced to Thursday's game against the Lady Techsters by virtue of a 5-4 win over New Mexico State.

LA Tech (33-21) won its fifth straight WAC Tournament game and did it in impressive fashion against a Rainbow Wahine team that had won 14 of its last 16 games entering the league tournament. Krieg (19-5) worked her way out of trouble in the first and second innings when she allowed the Rainbow Wahine (29-23) to put runners on first and second with no outs. However, Krieg settled down in both frames and prevented the Rainbow Wahine from plating a run.

In a scoreless game in the top of the third, Waits struck, roping a two-out, two-run double off Hawaii starter Stephanie Ricketts, who was named the WAC Freshman of the Year earlier in the day.

The hit came after Hawaii chose to throw to Waits with runners on second and third and two outs. The decision proved costly as the two-run double ignited the Lady Techster offense which ended the night with nine hits.

Tech increased its advantage in the top of the fourth inning on a solo home run by junior Jessica Kirby, deep over the left field fence. After Krieg worked out of another first and second and nobody out jam in the bottom of the fourth, Waits struck again this time with a solo home run to straight away centerfield in the top of the sixth, making the score 4-0.

Hawaii put two runners on for the fourth time of the night in the bottom of the sixth, but Krieg induced a fly out to left field, keeping the Tech advantage at 4-0.

The Lady Techsters added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning. After leadoff singles by Krissi Oliver and Amanda Parsonage, Emma Barnes reached on an error by the Hawaii second baseman which allowed Oliver to score from second, upping the Tech lead to 5-0. Danielle Sheridan then followed with a two-run double to centerfield for the final two runs of the night for LA Tech.

Hawaii's Julie Franklin blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh before Krieg retired the final three batters for the win. Krieg allowed one run on six hits and three walks while registering eight strikeouts, giving her 204 for the season.

With the loss, Hawaii falls to the loser's bracket where it will play the loser of Thursday's first game between top-seeded Fresno State and seventh-seeded Boise State. Ricketts (21-10) took the loss, allowing three runs -- one earned -- on four hits in 4.0 innings of work while Melissa Gonzalez came on in relief and allowed four runs over the final 3.0 innings.

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