Softball Drops Two Games At Easton Alabama Invite
March 4, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The UMass softball team dropped two games on day two of the Easton Alabama Invite in Tuscaloosa, Ala., losing 8-0 to #1/2 Alabama and 19-0 to UAB. Sara Plourde recorded fifteen strikeouts on the day. The Minutewomen will play their last game of the tournament on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. against Maryland, who they defeated 16-6 on day one.
The Minutewomen started off strong in their first game of the day against Alabama. UMass held them to two runs and four hits for the first four innings of play.
Katie Bettencourt recorded the first hit of the game, singling to the shortstop and beating the throw to first in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the inning, Plourde showed composure on the mound, striking out two in a row while bases were loaded. A fly ball to Christine Della Vecchia would end the inning, leaving three runners on and no runs scored.
Alabama first scored in the bottom of the second when Kayla Braud put down a sacrifice bunt, allowing Keima Davis to reach home. The inning ended with a strikeout, which was Sara Plourde's 1219th of her career. This was enough to surpass Brandice Balschmiter, who was number two on the UMass all-time career strikeout list. Plourde is 117 strikeouts away from surpassing UMass great Danielle Henderson and claiming the all-time record.
In the top of the third inning, Cyndil Matthew doubled through the right side, but UMass couldn't capitalize on this and ended the inning with Matthew left on second. Alabama was held to a three up, three down inning at the bottom of the third, including two strikeouts from Plourde.
Alabama scored again in the fourth when a single from Traina allowed Jazlyn Lunceford, who was on second, to score. The bottom of the fifth inning gave the Crimson Tide four more runs, two were walked in, one came in when a batter was hit by a pitch with bases loaded, and one came in when Braud singled to the shortstop Quianna Diaz-Patterson, who couldn't get a throw off in time for the third out of the inning.
The bottom of the sixth sealed the deal when Lunceford had a walk-off homerun, adding two runs to the scoreboard and ending the game.
Plourde struckout ten batters in the game and allowed five runs. Katie Bettencourt had two hits in the match, both singles. Traina didn't walk a single UMass batter, struck out six, and allowed three hits.
Later in the day UMass dropped to UAB 19-0 in five innings. Bridget Lemire was on the mound and allowed 18 hits in the match. The Blazers started of strong in the first inning, scoring five runs. The first was scored off an error by Diaz-Patterson, which allowed Whitney Fletcher to go home. The next three runs came from a Kristin McGrath home run over the centerfield wall, and then a fifth run was scored when the next batter, Hayley Davis homered to the very same spot in centerfield.
UMass recorded their only hit in the bottom of the first, which was a Diaz-Patterson line drive to the third baseman, who couldn't handle the speed of the hit in her diving attempt at the ball and allowed Diaz-Patterson to get to first.
UAB scored two in the second when Kayla Orr homered to left center and sent in Catherine Crawford, who got on base with a double to center field.
UAB didn't score in the third, but had a twelve run fourth inning, ultimately ending the game. Three singles in a row gave them one of the twelve runs, then another single down the left field line would send in two more. A Lauren Webster home run would add three more to the scoreboard, bringing the lead to thirteen with no outs. A single by Issa Brown would send in one more run and Chandler Orr would be hit by a pitch to send in another. A single from Tiffany Smith sent in one more, but an error by Della Vecchia in centerfield allowed her to get to second and another run was scored, giving them a 17-0 advantage with one out. Two singles in a row would add the last two runs.
Plourde came in for Lemire in the top of the fourth with one out. She walked her first batter but struck out the next two to end the inning. She then struck out three in a row in the top of the fifth to end the UAB offense.