Softball Downs Buffalo, 9-2, In Nine Innings
March 10, 2005
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Massachusetts (4-6) scored seven runs in the top of ninth inning to defeat Buffalo (2-9), 9-2, Thursday evening in the first game of the Speedline Invitational hosted by the University of South Florida. The Minutewomen had led 2-0 in the sixth inning.
UMass got going with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. After an infield single and a stolen base by sophomore Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.), senior Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) hit a two-run home run over the centerfield fence. UMass senior KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) had a chance to break the game open in the second inning with two outs and the bases loaded, but she struck out. The Minutewomen stranded seven runners in the first three innings.
UMass junior pitcher Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) allowed a two-out hit batsman and a walk in the first inning, but got a come-backer to get out of the game. She cruised after that and allowed just one walk until Laura Kor got Buffalo's first hit of the game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
In the sixth, Buffalo got on the scoreboard. Marcy Hansen reached on an error to lead off the inning and two batters later stole second. She scored when Mary Russell roped a double to the left-centerfield gap. Russell was then able to score one batter later when Lacy Schneider singled up the middle. Busa was able to get out the inning without allowing another run and the score was tied at two heading into the seventh inning.
With outs in the top of the seventh, Kelley roped a double off the centerfield fence that missed going out by two feet. Senior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) popped out to end the threat, however. Buffalo began the seventh inning with a walk and senior pitcher Barb LaFogg (Williamsburg, Mass.) entered the game in relief. She struck out the side to get out of the jam.
Neither team scored in the eighth with the International tie-breaker rule in place and then the Minutewomen offense broke out in the top of the ninth. With junior Kristi Stefanoni (Columbus, N.J.) at second base, Molinari moved her to third with a single up the middle. After Molinari stole second base, Puglia came up and gave the Minutewomen a 4-2 lead with a two-RBI double of the left-field fence right down the line. Kelley then reached on an infield single and stole second base to put two more runners in scoring position. Denis gave LaFogg some breathing room with a two-RBI single to right field. UMass tacked on three more runs in the inning courtesy of a RBI double off the bat of junior Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.) and a two-run home run by senior Pam Sulick (Mission Viejo, Calif.).
LaFogg retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth and the Minutewomen had their second win in a row for the first time this year.
LaFogg pitched three scoreless innings for UMass with three strikeouts en route to her third win.
The Minutewomen continue pool play of the Speedline Invitational tomorrow with a pair of games. UMass will face Jacksonville at 4:00 p.m. and then BYU at 6:00 p.m. The tournament runs through Sunday, March 13.