Hawaii Hosts Long Beach State In Key Big West Softball Series
Softball Weekly Release No. 12
Hawai’i is inching closer toward a Big West regular season softball title but second place Long Beach State looks to present a major obstacle as the two 30-win clubs battle this weekend.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• Hawai’i and Long Beach State square off in a key Big West series this week as the race for the regular season title intensifies with only three weeks to go. The Rainbow Wahine swept Cal Poly last week to improve to 14-1 in conference play and move closer to a Big West crown. The 49ers are tied with Pacific for second place with 12-6 records. LBSU needs to win the series against UH to realistically have a shot at the championship, although the Rainbow Wahine have as tough a schedule as possible to close out the season. LBSU, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific are the three closest teams in the standings, and UH must face them all over the next three weeks.
• The 49ers took two out of three games against UC Santa Barbara last week to reach the 30-win plateau for the ninth time in the last 12 seasons. Four of those 30-win campaigns have come under the tutelage of head coach Kim Sowder, who now stands just six Big West victories shy of 100. Sowder is 94-47 (.667) in conference games entering the UH series.
• UH moved up one spot to No. 14 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and stayed put at No. 20 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings. The Rainbow Wahine have won 17 of their last 18 games.
• UH head coach Bob Coolen is used to hitting coaching milestones this season, so it’s no surprise he’s on the cusp of another one. Earlier this season, Coolen won his 800th game at Hawai’i and No. 900 overall as a collegiate head coach. Now he is three wins away from accumulating his 100th Big West win. Coolen, in his 22nd season on the islands, was the program’s mentor for five seasons (1992-96) in the middle of UH’s first tour of the Big West and compiled an 83-81 conference record. He is now 97-82 (.542) and could reach the milestone total with a sweep of LBSU this week.
• Cal State Northridge is steering in the right direction. After struggling to a 10-42 mark in 2012, the Matadors doubled their win total after winning the series against Pacific last weekend. It was the second consecutive series victory for CSUN, which took two out of three from Cal Poly a week earlier. The Matadors won just one league series in all of 2012. In addition, CSUN’s six conference wins is one more than it had last year.
• Hawai’i hurler Kaia Parnaby continued her monster senior season with three more victories last week. That improved her record to 34-4 and allowed her to tie the Big West single-season record for wins which Rhonda Wheatley of Cal Poly Pomona has held since 1987. She also crept into the No. 3 spot in the conference’s record book with 299 strikeouts, and she stands just 26 short of surpassing the record owned by former UH standout Brooke Wilkins (324 - 1994).
• BigWest.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West’s ten member institutions. Now in its eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women’s volleyball as well as men’s and women’s basketball. Also covered are select contests in men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and Big West Conference Championships. Head to this week for weekly event schedules.