Softball Splits First Day Of NFCA Leadoff Classic
Feb. 25, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Senior pitcher Barb LaFogg (Williamsburg, Mass.) struck out a career-high 14 batters as the Massachusetts softball team (1-2) defeated Cal State Northridge (5-2), 2-1, in its second game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Minutewomen lost earlier in the evening to No. 16 Georgia, 4-3. UMass lost a 3-1 lead in that game.
In game one of the day, UMass to Georgia 4-3. The Dawgs got on the board first with an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning, but the Minutewomen came back to tie the game in the top of the second. Junior Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.) was hit by a pitch with one out and then stole second base to get into scoring position. Two batters later, Ferrara scored on a single by freshman Lauren Proctor (Redmond, Wash.) down the left-field line. For Proctor, it was her first collegiate hit and RBI.
Junior pitcher Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) faced a jam in the bottom of the third inning. A leadoff walk and then a single gave Georgia runners on first and second with nobody out. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners over, Busa was able to get the next two batters to ground out and got out of the inning unharmed. UMass then took the lead in the top of the fourth. Senior Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) had a two-out, RBI single to right field which plated freshman pinch runner Sarah Hurd (Warwick, R.I.) from third. The hit came off of All-American pitcher Michelle Green who came in the game from the bullpen to face Puglia. Junior KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) then gave the Minutewomen a two-run cushion when she singled to drive home sophomore Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.). Puglia tried to score from second base, but was thrown out by Georgia left fielder Jessica Gilmore. Molinari had reached base by walking and then moved to third base on Puglia's single.
Georgia came right back in the bottom of the fourth inning. A walk and an error gave the Bulldogs two on and one out. Katie Vickers then delivered a RBI single to make it a 3-2 game. Georgia tied the game in the next inning with another unearned run. The Bulldogs then scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Busa got the leadoff hitter to ground out, a walk and a single put runners at first and third with one out. Gilmore drove in the game-winning run with a single up the middle to give Georgia the come from behind victory. Busa gave up all four runs, one earned, on 10 hits and five walks. She fanned one. Green got the win for the Bulldogs, pitching the final 3.1 innings. She gave up three hits and two walks while striking out five.
UMass wasted no time on getting on the scoreboard in game two against Cal State Northridge as it took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Amanda Morin (Worcester, Mass.) led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Molinari. Two batters later, Kelley doubled down the left-field-line to drive in Morin with the game's first run.
Cal State Northridge was able to tie the game off LaFogg with a run in the bottom of the third inning, but the Minutewomen took the lead back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Morin got it started with a one-out single and was sacrificed to second by Molinari. Northridge then made a pitching change and brought in ace Kia Fennell. On the first pitch, Puglia hit a double to the right-center field gap to drive in Morin with the go-ahead run.
LaFogg made the lead stand as she went the distance to give UMass its first win of the season. She scattered four hits and two walks in a addition to her career-high 14 strikeouts. LaFogg struck out at least one batter in each inning and fanned the side in the fourth.
Massachusetts concludes pool play tomorrow morning with a 10:00 a.m. game against No. 17 Nebraska. Bracket play begins tomorrow night and continues through Sunday.