Softball Splits Pair At Villanova Challenge
March 19, 2005
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Massachusetts softball team (8-9) split a pair of games Saturday afternoon at the Villanova Challenge. The Minutewomen lost the first game of the day to Villanova (18-9), 3-1, but came back to defeat Brown (0-1), 3-2. UMass had eight hits, including four doubles, against Villanova but also committed four errors and left nine runners on base.
In the first game against Villanova, the Minutewomen had a leadoff double in each of the first three innings, but managed to score just one run. UMass left seven runners on base in that stretch. It was Villanova who scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second inning on two UMass errors. Villanova's Jessica Curtis scored from second base on a double UMass error. Jackie Dempsey hit a two-out pop up to UMass senior pitcher Barb LaFogg (Williamsburg, Mass.). LaFogg dropped the ball and it was picked up by sophomore first baseman Amanda Morin (Worcester, Mass.). She tried to throw out Curtis rounding third base, but the throw went wide and Curtis gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead on the unearned run.
UMass came back to tie the game in the top of the top of the third. The Minutewomen loaded the bases with no outs, but were only able to score one run. Senior Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) led off with a double and then sophomore Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) walked. Junior KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) was hit to load the bases and two batters later, Puglia tied the game when she scored on a RBI single by freshman Lauren Proctor (Redmond, Wash.). Villanova pitcher Kristen Haynes worked out of the jam without any more damage and preserved the tie. Puglia also doubled with one out in the fourth inning for her third two-bagger of the game. It hit the top of the fence and missed being a home run by inches. The Wildcats took the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kari Koller led off the frame by reaching on an error by LaFogg. Two batters later, Cassie Koenig homered over the left-field fence to give Villanova a 3-1 lead. LaFogg got the last two batters to get out of the inning and bring UMass up for the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Kelley tried to start a two-out rally for the Minutewomen when she singled up the middle. That knocked Haynes from the game and brought Shannon Williams in for the Wildcats. Senior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) struck out to end the game, however and UMass dropped its first game of the day.
LaFogg took the tough loss allowing just one unearned run on four hits and two walks. She struck out two batters.
Against Brown, junior Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) got the start for Massachusetts. Kelley gave the Minutewomen a 1-0 lead with a two-out, solo home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the first inning. It was Kelley's team-high fourth home run of the season and 25th in her career which moved her just one behind Scooter Wheeler and Brandi Cross for tops on the all-time school chart.
Busa held Brown scoreless through four and then UMass tried to get some insurance in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kelley walked to lead off and was pinch run for by sophomore Michea Holness (Beverly, Mass.). After Denis struck out, Proctor reached on an infield single to put two on with just one out, but Brown pitcher Uchenna Omokaro got out of the jam without any damage. With two outs and an 0-and-2 count, Brown's Sarah Wilson reached on an infield single in the hole between third and short. It marked the first hit of the game for the Bears. After a hit batsman, error and a stolen base, Brown had runners at second and third with two outs. Busa got Omokaro to ground out, however, and get out of the jam. The Minutewomen then gave Busa some insurance in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman pinch hitter Stacy Cullington (Encinitas, Calif.) hit a solo home run to left for her first career round-tripper.
Brown then tried to get something going in the top of the sixth. Mary Seid led off with an infield single and two batters later, Courtney Jenkins reached on an error to put runners on first and third with one out. A walk by Amy Baxter then loaded the bases for Brown. Melissa Ota then doubled to right field which drove in two runs and tied the game. Busa got a strike out and fly out to center to get out of the jam. In the bottom of the inning, Junior Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.) singled to put runners at first and second with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but sophomore Amanda Morin (Worcester, Mass.) struck out to end the inning.
After Busa retired the side in the top of the seventh, Massachusetts came up in the bottom of the inning looking for the winning run. Senior Pam Sulick (Mission Viejo, Calif.) led off with a single and was pinch run for by freshman Sarah Hurd (Warwick, R.I.). After junior Kristi Stefanoni (Columbus, N.J.) sacrificed Hurd to second, Puglia grounded out for the inning's second out bringing up Molinari. She extended the inning by reaching on an infield single. Kelley was then intentionally walked to load the bases for Denis. Denis walked as well and the winning run crossed the plate.
Busa allowed one earned run on four hits and three walks in seven innings. She fanned seven.
Massachusetts is scheduled to host Syracuse in its home opener Thursday, March 24. First pitch for game one of the doubleheader will be 2:00 PM. Syracuse is receiving votes in both top 25 polls.