Softball Opens A-10 Season With Two Wins At Dayton
March 26, 2005
DAYTON, Ohio - Massachusetts (10-9, 2-0 Atlantic 10) opened up conference season by sweeping Dayton (6-8, 0-2), 11-1 and 8-1, Saturday afternoon in the inaugural game of the UD Arena Softball Stadium. The Minutewomen pounded out 20 hits on the afternoon, eight of which were extra-base hits. Dayton scored both of its runs on the day via solo home runs. Senior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) hit two home runs and had four RBI in game one while junior Kristi Stefanoni (Columbus, N.J.) was 2-for-2 with two RBI in the second game.
In game one of the doubleheader, UMass got out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Senior Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) started it with a two-out walk and then stole second base. She was driven home on a RBI single to right field by senior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.).
In the top of the second inning, UMass recorded two hits but was unable to score. Sophomore Amanda Morin (Worcester, Mass.) doubled into the left-centerfield gap to snap a 0-for-34 stretch. She then moved up a base when freshman Sarah Hurd (Warwick, R.I.) singled through the left side for her first career hit. With junior Kristi Stefanoni (Columbus, N.J.) at the plate, Hurd was called for leaving early as she attempted top steal second base. On the next pitch, Stefanoni flied out to deep center ending the inning.
Then in the third, Denis hit the first home run in the history of the brand-new UD Arena Softball Stadium. It was a three-run shot giving UMass a 4-0 lead. Freshman Lauren Proctor (Redmond, Wash.) and sophomore Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) both scored in front of Denis.
Senior pitcher Barb LaFogg (Williamsburg, Mass.) had allowed just one walk though four innings, but Laura Matthews led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run for Dayton breaking up the no-hitter and shutout with one swing. UMass broke the game wide open with a seven-run, sixth inning. Junior Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.) walked and then sophomore Michea Holness (Beverly, Mass.) pinch ran for her. Hurd then came up and sacrificed, but was able to reach base safely on an error. Freshman Stacy Cullington (Encinitas, Calif.) next came up as a pinch hitter and doubled off the right-field fence driving in Holness and making the game 5-1. Proctor then followed by singling into left field driving home Hurd. Molinari kept the inning going by reaching on a fielder's choice. Stefanoni, who re-entered the game for Cullington, scored on the play as the throw home was not in time.
Puglia broke the game wide open for the Minutewomen with a three-run home run well over the left-field fence. Two pitches later, Denis homered to right field. It was her second long ball of the game and her first career multi-home run game. It also marked the first time this season that UMass recorded back-to-back home runs. UMass took an 11-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning. LaFogg retired the Flyers and gave UMass the mercy-rule win. LaFogg allowed two walks and just the one hit. She struck out five batters. Erin Lafayette got the loss for Dayton.
In game two, UMass took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Morin worked a two-out walk and then senior Pam Sulick (Mission Viejo, Calif.) reached on an infield single. Stefanoni came up next and singled to centerfield. The ball went through the legs of Cassie Gross in centerfield and rolled all the way to the wall. Morin scored from first and Sulick raced home all the way from first as Stefanoni went to third on the two-base error. Proctor struck out and Dayton pitcher Melissa Myer got out of the jam without any further damage. UMass made it a 3-0 game when Denis and Cullington hit back-to-back doubles with two outs in the top of the third.
In the top of the fourth, UMass scored two more runs to make it a 5-0 game. Stefanoni had a RBI double down the left-field line scoring Morin. Morin had singled earlier in the inning. Another run also scored later in the inning when Molinari reached on an error. UMass tacked on more runs in the top of the sixth to enforce the mercy rule. Puglia had a RBI single in the frame. UMass also scored a run with a bases loaded hit batsman and a passed ball.
Junior Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) took a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth inning, but Dayton's Shannon St. Clair hit a solo home run with one out. Cassie Gross also recorded a double in the frame. Busa got a fly-out to get out of the inning.
Busa went the distance in the second game. She ended up allowing one earned run on three hits and four walks. Busa fanned one. For Dayton, Myher pitched seven innings while throwing 156 pitches. She gave up nine hits, three walks and hit four batters.
Massachusetts returns to action by hosting Central Connecticut on Tuesday at the UMass Softball Complex. First pitch in game one of the doubleheader is slated for 2:30 PM. You can follow all of the action via Gametracker at www.umassathletics.com.