Softball Downs Maine, 8-5
April 23, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. - Junior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) hit a three-run double up the left-center field alley to highlight a five-run sixth inning in which the University of Massachusetts Softball team (23-12) overcame a two-run deficit and went on to an 8-5 win over the University of Maine (18-15) this afternoon at the UMass Softball Complex. With the win, UMass has now won 65 straight games at home. That is the longest such streak in the nation.
UMass took a 3-0 lead with three runs on just one hit in the second inning. Senior Jamie Cahalan (Mesa, Ariz.) led off with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. She was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Pam Sulick (Mission Viejo, Calif.). Sulick reached however on an error by the shortstop. The two then successfully pulled off a double steal for the games' first run. Cahalan raced home when Maine catcher Lindsey Tibbetts threw to second trying to nab Sulick.Two batters later, Denis walked. With first and third again, the Minutewomen tried the double steal for the second time. Denis stole second and before Sulick could try to score, the ball was dropped by Tibbetts behind the plate. Sulick was able to race home and Denis went to third on the passed ball. The third run scored later in the inning on an infield single by senior Aisha Franke (Philadelphia, Pa.).
In the top of the fourth, Maine took advantage of three UMass errors and four hits to plate five runs and take a 5-3 lead. Two singles and a double to start the inning gave the Black Bears a run and runners on second and third with nobody out. Two batters later, the wheels fell off for the UMass defense. Tibbetts reached safely on a suicide squeeze for the second run of the inning and then three straight errors and another hit gave Maine a 5-3 lead.
The UMass bats were quiet until the bottom of the sixth when it scored five times to take an 8-5 lead. Sophomore Katie Jo Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) led off with a walk and then Cahalan reached on a fielder's choice. Pinch runner Nicole Wilson (Gaithersburg, Md.) was out at second. Sulick then reached on an error and senior KC Budrewicz (Buckland, Mass.) walked to load the bases. Maine pitcher Alexis Pullen was then lifted for Jennifer Merchant. Pullen was the second pitcher of the game as Sarah Bennis started it. That brought up Denis who laced an 0-1 pitch into the left-center field gap to bring home three runs and give UMass a 6-5 lead just like that. A single by freshman Amanda Morin (Worcester, Mass.) and a stolen base left runners on second and third. Franke then singled to right field driving home a pair of insurance runs and giving UMass the 8-5 lead.
Sophomore Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) started and pitched four-plus innings. She allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk. Busa fanned three batters. Junior Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) hurled three innings of hitless relief. She walked one and struck out one. Arnold earned the win and improved to 12-5 this season.
The two teams started game two of the doubleheader and it was called due to darkness after five complete innings. The game was tied at four and the umpires ruled a no-contest. The game will not count as a tie nor will the stats count.
Massachusetts will play a crucial A-10 contest on Sunday at Temple. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. The Owls are 5-1 in league play while the Minutewomen are 6-0.