No. 16 Softball Falls To Illinois, 6-4
March 10, 2003
PLANT CITY, Fla. - The University of Massachusetts softball team (7-7) fell to Illinois, 6-4, this afternoon in the consolation semifinals of the Speedline Invitational. The Fighting Illini scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning with UMass leading 2-1.
The Minutewomen got on the board first with a run in the first inning courtesy of a leadoff home run by senior Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.). It was the second time that she had done that this season. Illinois tied the game up in the bottom of the second with a run of its own.
UMass took the lead again with a run in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) reached base on an error and was then bunted over to second by senior Brandi Cross (Diamond Bar, Calif.). Freshman KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) followed with a single to center that sent Puglia to third, but freshman Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.) popped up for the inning's second out. UMass was able to manufacture a run with a double steal. Puglia crossed the plate with the go-ahead run before Kelley was thrown out at second.
Illinois scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-2 lead. Sophomore pitcher Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) was victimized by poor defense again as three of the runs in the inning were unearned. UMass made three errors in the field for the second consecutive game.
Massachusetts tried to mount a come-back in the top of the seventh, but could only plate two runs as it dropped to .500 on the season. Junior pinch-hitter Nicole Wilson (Gaithersburg, Md.) led off with a double and then moved to third on a single by senior Anna Perey (Chino Valley, Ariz.). Senior pinch-hitter Jessica Bartlett (Turners Falls, Mass.) followed with a fielders choice scoring Wilson, but Perey was thrown out a second. Sophomore Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) followed with a pinch-hit single sending Bartlett to third. UMass then tried the double-steal, but pinch-runner KC Budrewicz (Buckland, Mass.) was thrown out at second. Bartlett did steal home on the play. Robustelli ended the Minutewoman threat by striking out.
On the mound, Arnold gave up 10 hits and six runs, three of which were earned in six innings. She struck out two and walked three,
Massachusetts will look to bounce back at the Blue and Gold Classic, March 14-16, in Miami, Fla. The Minutewomen will play Texas A&M, Florida Atlantic, California and Florida International in pool play prior to the championship round.
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