No. 25 Softball Wins Two
March 22, 2003
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The 25th-ranked University of Massachusetts softball team (11-10) defeated Villanova, 4-0, and Seton Hall, 5-2, this afternoon in the first day of play at the Atlantic 10/Big East Challenge hosted by Villanova.
In game one against Villanova, senior Brandi Cross (Diamond Bar, Calif.) hit a long home run over the center field fence in the bottom of the first inning to give the Minutewomen all of the offense that they would need. Senior pitcher Kaila Holtz (North Vancouver, British Columbia) scattered four hits and walked two as she improved to 5-6. She struck out four batters.
Massachusetts added two insurance runs in the third. Junior Aisha Franke (Philadelphia, Pa.) and senior Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.) led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Cross was intentionally walked to load the bases, but the fourth pitch got away and Franke scored from third. Freshman KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) drove in UMass' third run with a ground out. UMass added another run in the bottom of the sixth when Holtz drove in pinch-runner KC Budrewicz (Buckland, Mass.) with a single.
Villanova threatened to break the shutout bid of Holtz by loading the bases with one out in the sixth inning, but Holtz got a strikeout and ground out to get out of the mess.
In game two, Kelley had a two-out RBI single in the first inning to drive in Robustelli, but the Pirates came back to score two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. After allowing two runs and three hits in the first inning, sophomore pitcher Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) settled down to allow just one base runner the rest of the way while striking out seven.
Massachusetts was able to tie the game in the fourth inning as pinch-runner Kristi Stefanoni (Columbus, N.J.) scored on an error by the Seton Hall short stop. She was running for Cross who had singled to lead off the frame. UMass scored three times, two of which were unearned in the fifth to take control of the game. Franke got things going with a one-out single. Robustelli and senior Anna Perey (Chino Valley, Ariz.) each followed with singles to load the bases. Cross got a pitch to hit, but just got under it and had to settle for a long sacrifice fly to left giving UMass a 3-2 lead. Kelley then reached on another error by Katie Pierce at short stop which enabled Robustelli to score, while Perey stole home with the inning's third run later in the frame.
Massachusetts will play these same two teams again tomorrow as the A-10/Big East Challenge continues. Play begins at 10:00 a.m.