No. 23 Softball Wins Two In Miami
March 14, 2003
MIAMI, Fla. - The 23rd-ranked University of Massachusetts softball team (9-7) defeated No. 19 Texas A&M, 4-2, and Florida Atlantic, 2-1, this afternoon in the first day of play at the Blue & Gold Classic.
In game one, senior short stop Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.) led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run and it looked like that might be the only run of the game. For Robustelli, it was her fourth of the season and third to lead off a game. Senior pitcher Kaila Holtz (North Vancouver, British Columbia) held the Aggies scoreless through the first four innings, but they scored two in the top of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. Jana James' two-out, two-RBI single down the left field line gave Texas A&M its first lead.
Massachusetts responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead for good. After a single by senior Anna Perey (Chino Valley, Ariz.) and a walk by sophomore Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.), junior Aisha Franke (Philadelphia, Pa.) grounded out to move both runners into scoring position. Robustelli then followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to score the tying run. Sophomore Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) put UMass back on top with a single to the left side, her team-high 13th RBI of the season. The Minutewomen added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth courtesy of an RBI double by Denis to right-center field. Holtz retired the Aggies in order in the seventh to put UMass back over the .500 mark. She scattered five hits in picking up her fourth win of the year. Holtz struck out seven and did not walk a batter..
In game two, Massachusetts wasted no time scoring, plating two runs in the top of the first. Robustelli led off with a walk and was then bunted over to second base by Puglia. Senior Brandi Cross (Diamond Bar, Calif.) then singles off the short stop to move Robustelli over to third. Freshman KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) singled up the middle to give the Minutewomen a 1-0 lead. After a stolen base by Kelley and walk by Holtz, Denis came up with the bases loaded. She hit a shot to the warning track in right that was caught but scored Cross with the game's second run. It turned out to be the only UMass runs of the game, but sophomore Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) made it last.
Arnold started off shaky, giving up a hit and two walks in the first inning, but was able to work out of the jam and eventually settled down. Florida Atlantic scored its run in the bottom of the sixth, but it could have been worse. The Lady Owls banged out four hits in the inning, but a costly baserunning error prevented them from getting more than a run.
Arnold gave up seven hits and walked four, but held FAU to just one run in seven innings, while striking out six.
Massachusetts continues play in the Blue & Gold Classic tomorrow. The Minutewomen will face No. 7 California at 9:00 a.m. and Florida International at 1:00 p.m. The championship will be Sunday at 1:30 p.m.