No. 25 Softball Downs No. 20 Pacific, 6-3
Feb. 22, 2003
COLUMBUS, Ga. - The 25th-ranked University of Massachusetts softball team (4-3) defeated 20th-ranked Pacific, 6-3, this afternoon in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Minutewomen are now 2-0 in pool play, but due to yesterday's heavy rains which postponed all competition until today, all bracket play has been cancelled.
Freshman Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) made her first career start on the mound today and pitched magnificently. She went 6.1 innings, scattering six hits and striking out one, while allowing three earned runs. She did get into trouble in the first inning, but was able to pitch out of the jam. Busa hit the first batter she faced, but forced two ground balls and benefitted from a caught stealing to get out of jam.
Similar to its win over Oregon State earlier in the tournament, the Massachusetts offense struck early and often. With one out in the first inning, sophomore second baseman Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.), who was 3-for-3 in the game, hit a double. Senior Brandi Cross (Diamond Bar, Calif.) followed with a walk, setting the stage for freshman KJ Kelley's (Rainier, Ore.) first career home run, a three-run shot giving UMass a 3-0 lead.
The Minutewomen added some insurance, which they later needed, in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, freshman Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.) walked and then advanced to second on a passed ball. She then moved to third on a single by sophomore Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.). After a pop-out by senior Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.), Puglia got her second hit of the game, a two-RBI single scoring both Denis and Ferrara. She was thrown out at second base ending the threat, but UMass led 5-0 after two innings.
Massachusetts scored its final run of the game in the bottom of the third. Facing a new pitcher, Cross led off with a walk and was then ran for by junior KC Budrewicz (Buckland, Mass.). Kelley reached on an error, but Pacific was able to record the first out of the inning when the Minutewomen were unsuccessful in a double-steal attempt as Budrewicz was nailed at the plate. After senior designated player Kaila Holtz (North Vancouver, British Columbia) reached on a fielder's choice, the Minutewomen successfully pulled off a double-steal as Kelley crossed the plate with the sixth run of the game.
Pacific got on the board in the fourth on a walk and triple to start the inning, but Busa retired three straight batters and stranded the potential second run at third base. Pacific tried to mount a comeback attempt in the top of the seventh inning. Two of the first three batters hit solo home runs, but sophomore Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) came in to strike out both batters she faced for the save.
Since bracket play was cancelled due to yesterday's heavy rain, UMass will close out the tournament with a 1:00 p.m. game against No. 11 Florida State on Sunday, Feb. 23.