Softball Advances To Blue & Gold Championship Game
March 13, 2004
MIAMI, Fla. - Sophomore Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) threw a no-hitter as the University of Massachusetts softball team (8-11) defeated Virginia Tech (16-8), 4-0, tonight to advance to the championship game of the Blue & Gold Coca-Cola Classic. The Minutewomen began the day by falling to Florida International (11-14), 2-1.
Busa allowed one walk and struck out four en route to her first career no-hitter over the Hokies. There were four errors in the field behind her. UMass scored three runs with two outs in the third inning. Sophomore Katie Jo Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) drove home senior Aisha Franke (Philadelphia, Pa.) with a single to right. Two more runs scored when senior Jamie Cahalan (Mesa, Ariz.) reached on an error as Tech second baseman Caitlin Murphy dropped a pop-up behind the mound.UMass added another run in the top of the sixth when junior Pam Sulick (Mission Viejo, Calif.) had a sacrifice fly.
Freshman Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) had two more hits against Virginia Tech to raise her team-leading batting average to .375. Busa's no-hitter was the 59th in school history and first since current assistant coach Kaila Holtz threw a perfect game against George Washington on May 4, 2003.
In game one of the day, UMass was defeated by Florida International, 2-1. The Minutewomen took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second without getting a hit. Junior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) led off with a walk and scored two batters later when FIU catcher Jennifer Powell threw the ball into center field trying to nap sophomore Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.) stealing second base.
The 1-0 lead held up until the sixth when the Golden Panthers scored twice. FIU loaded the bases with nobody out. Junior pitcher Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) then got Cindy Turek to hit into a double-play leaving runners on second and third with two outs. Turek grounded to Kelley at third who tagged the runner out trying to score and then threw across the field to first for the second out. Two pitches later, Jennifer Owens ripped a double into the left-center field gap to plate a pair. She was thrown out by Franke trying to stretch it into a triple, but the damage had been done. For the second time in this tournament, Arnold suffered the tough loss. She went the distance scattering four hits and one walk while fanning three. Molinari had a pair of hits against FIU as well.
The Minutewomen will play Florida International again at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 14, in the championship game of the Blue & Gold Coca-Cola Classic. Massachusetts is looking for its second title at this tournament in three years. Virginia Tech and Miami (Ohio) will play in the third-place game at 10:30 a.m.