#25 Softball Sweeps Fordham
March 31, 2003
BRONX, N.Y. - The 25th-ranked University of Massachusetts softball team (17-10, 4-0 A-10) swept Fordham, 6-2, and 7-0, in Atlantic 10 Conference play this afternoon. The games were played 24 hours later after the originally scheduled doubleheader was postponed yesterday due to heavy rain and snow.
UMass jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when senior Brandi Cross (Diamond Bar, Calif.) belted her eighth home run of the year, a two run shot well over the right-center field fence. Senior Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.), who had singled to lead off the game, scored ahead of Cross. Fordham tied the game in the bottom of the second inning with two unearned runs and the game remained scoreless until the sixth.
Freshman KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) led off the inning with a single to center and was then pinch-run for by sophomore Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.). After sophomore Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) walked, both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by junior Nicole Wilson (Gaithersburg, N.Y.). With the go-ahead runs in scoring position, junior Jamie Cahalan (Mesa, Ariz.) delivered a RBI single to left. Denis scored, but Puglia was forced to stop at third since the ball was hit so hard. Junior Aisha Franke (Philadelphia, Pa.), the next batter reached via an infield single and loaded the bases for Robustelli. Robustelli came through with a RBI single to put the Minutewomen up two runs. After pinch hitter Jessica Bartlett (Turners Falls, Mass.) struck out for the inning's second out, Cross followed with a two-RBI single to center. She was thrown out when caught between first and second base, but the damage had been done.
Senior hurler Kaila Holtz (North Vancouver, British Columbia), fresh off her no-hitter at La Salle last Friday, went the distance allowing just four hits and two unearned runs as she improved to 8-6. She walked one and struck out seven. UMass banged out 10 hits in the contest as Cross, Robustelli, Kelley, Cahalan and Franke each poked two.
UMass used timely two-out hitting and a brilliant pitching performance from sophomore pitcher Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) to shut out the Rams, 7-0, in game two. Arnold yielded just three hits and struck out seven over seven innings as she improved to 7-4 this season. Franke and senior Anna Perey (Chino Valley, Ariz.) each drove in a run on an infield single in the top of the second inning and that was all the offense that Arnold would need. The knock-out blow came off the bat of Robustelli, as she drove a two-out double to the right-center field fence with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth. Holtz, acting as the designated player in the second game, added a RBI double in the fifth while Wilson added a pinch-hit RBI single to left in the seventh for the games final run.
Eight of the nine Minutewoman starters had at least one hit en route to a season-high 14 knocks. Robustelli led the way with three hits as she was 5-7 on the day. Cahalan, Perey and Franke also added two hits apiece in the win.
Massachusetts is scheduled to open up its home schedule with a doubleheader against Maine on Wednesday, April 2. First pitch at the UMass Softball Complex is slated for 2:30 p.m. The Minutewomen, who are riding a 40-game home winning streak, will play 12 home games in the next 12 days.
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