No. 16 Softball Falls To Northwestern, 9-6
March 8, 2003
PLANT CITY, Fla. - The University of Massachusetts softball team (7-6) fell to Northwestern, 9-6, this morning in the final game of pool play of the Speedline Invitational. Minutewoman ace Kaila Holtz (North Vancouver, British Columbia) was the victim of poor defense as her teammates committed three errors. Holtz gave up five hits and seven runs, only two of which were earned.
The Wildcats got on the board first with three runs in the top of the third inning, but UMass answered right back with three of its own in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) led off the inning with a single and then advanced to third two batters later after a double off the bat of senior Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.). Sophomore Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) then reached on a Wildcat error sending Robustelli to third and Denis home. Puglia then stole second and after a walk by senior Brandi Cross (Diamond Bar, Calif.), Robustelli scampered home with the Minutewomen's second run after a wild pitch. The Minutewomen scored their third run of the inning when Northwestern pitcher Lauren Schwendimann uncorked her second wild pitch of the game.
The Wildcats scored one run in the top of the fourth to go back up a run, 4-3, and then scored three more times in the top of the sixth, but UMass came back with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it a one-run game again at 7-6. With one out, senior Anna Perey (Chino Valley, Ariz.) reached on a bunt single. After stealing second base, Denis was able to reach on an error. Junior pinch-hitter Nicole Wilson (Gaithersburg, Md.) followed with an infield single loading the bases. Rubustelli, representing the tying run, hit a sacrifice fly scoring Perey and making the score 7-4. Puglia then followed with a two-RBI double down the right field line making it a 7-6 game. With the tying run in scoring position, Cross popped up to end the threat.
Northwestern scored two insurance runs off Minutewoman sophomore reliever Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) in the top of the seventh for the win. UMass went down in order in the bottom of the inning to end the game.
The Minutewomen will play Illinois at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in the consolation bracket.