No. 16 Softball Splits On Day 1 Of Speedline Inv.
March 6, 2003
PLANT CITY, Fla. - The 16th-ranked University of Massachusetts softball team (6-4) defeated North Carolina (10-10), 8-0 in six innings and fell to No. 4 Washington (19-0-1), 1-0 in eight innings today in first round action of the Speedline Invitational hosted by the University of South Florida.
In game one of the day, UMass struck quickly with two runs in the first inning and that would be all sophomore pitcher Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) would need. UMass did not record a hit in the inning as the Tar Heel pitcher surrendered three walks and there was an error. Senior Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.) scored on a wild pitch and sophomore Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) crossed the plate after a passed ball.
The UMass bats got going in the fifth inning as it scored three runs on two hits. After walks by juniors KC Budrewicz (Buckland, Mass.) and Aisha Franke (Philadelphia, Pa.), Rubustelli bunted the two runners into scoring position setting the stage for Puglia's first career home run. The three-run blast gave UMass a 5-0 lead. She also recorded a RBI single in the sixth inning for the third run of the frame putting UMass up 8-0. Robustelli and Franke also drove in a run apiece in the inning.
On the mound, Arnold (1-0) held North Carolina to just one hit in six innings. She struck out three and walked two.
In the second game, UMass gave undefeated and fourth-ranked Washington all it could handle. Through six innings, the game was still scoreless and the Minutewomen had not yet been able to pound out a hit off Husky ace Tia Bollinger. UMass senior Kaila Holtz (North Vancouver, British Columbia) was equally as impressive, yielding just two hits while striking out seven through six. In the bottom of the sixth, UW had runners at first and second with one out, but Holtz was able to work out of the jam courtesy of a double-play.
UMass senior Brandi Cross (Diamond Bar, Calif.) led off the top of the seventh inning with a single ending Bollinger's bid for a no-hitter. Freshman Kristi Stefanoni (Columbus, N.J.), who pinch ran for Cross, moved to second base on a bunt by freshman KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.). Holtz then singled up the middle, but Stefanoni was gunned down at the plate by the Husky centerfielder.
Washington was able to score the games only run in the bottom of the eighth inning with the international tiebreaker and remain un defeated. Holtz (2-3) took the tough loss, scattering five hits and striking out a career-high seven batters.
UMass will play Hofstra at 10:00 a.m. and Ball State at 12:00 p.m. in the second day of action at the Speedline Invitational on Friday, March 7. The tournament will continue through Sunday, March 9. -UMASS-
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