IRVINE — University of Hawaii softball senior shortstop Jessica Iwata (Lihue, Kauai/Kauai HS) aided a scoring onslaught with a pair of home runs to help Hawaii remain undefeated in league action and earn Big West Softball Field Player of the Week recognition on April 8.
Iwata blasted two of UH’s 11 home runs and hit .700 (7-for-10) in a series sweep of UC Riverside. The Rainbow Wahine outscored the Highlanders 36-3 over the three games and Iwata accounted for nearly one-third of the offense, scoring six times and driving in five runs.
The shortstop opened the series with a season-high three runs scored in UH’s 16-0 win in five innings. She reached base safely in three of four plate appearances and drew an RBI walk. In Game Two, Iwata contributed to a 12-run first inning, launching a three-run home run – one of four round-trippers in the inning. She finished 2-for-3 with a season-high three RBI.
In an 8-1 victory to complete the sweep and keep UH’s unbeaten Big West streak at nine straight, Iwata smashed another home run as part of a 3-for-4 day at the plate. The blast represented her second consecutive first inning home run and the three hits were a season-best. It marked Iwata’s 51st home run of her career, which is second in the UH record book behind teammate Kelly Majam.
For the series, Iwata had a slugging percentage of 1.300 and had an on-base percentage of .727 for the week. Overall, Iwata is hitting .291 and in conference, she is hitting .370 (10-for-27) with 10 runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI.
Hawaii embarks on its third and longest road trip of the season this week. The ‘Bows first head to Cal State Fullerton for a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 13, and a single game on Sunday, April 14. Hawaii will then play its final non-conference game of the season at CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday, April 16, before heading to San Luis Obispo to battle Cal Poly in a three-game conference tilt beginning with a doubleheader on Friday, April 19, and ending with a single game on Saturday, April 20.