UMass Splits Twinbill At Charlotte, A-10 Streak Snapped
April 26, 2009
CHARLOTTE - Brandice Balschmiter tossed a shutout and Whitney Williams drove in all three runs as #21/17 UMass took game one at Charlotte, 3-0, but the 49ers piled up 15 hits and took advantage of four Minutewomen errors to take game two, 11-6, and gain the split on Sunday afternoon. The loss in the second game snapped a 49-game Atlantic 10 winning streak for the Minutewomen as well as a 18-game overall winning streak. UMass goes to 29-7 overall with an 11-1 mark in A-10 play. Charlotte goes to 30-14 overall and 12-4 in conference.
The Minutewomen had won 18 games in a row, going back to March 15, when they fell to Florida Gulf Coast, 5-3, at the USF Under Armour Showcase. The loss was UMass' first in Atlantic 10 play in almost three years, with the last being May 5, 2006 at St. Bonaventure, 5-3.
Carly Normandin and Williams provided all the offense UMass needed in game one, accounting for all three runs scored and runs driven in themselves.
The Minutewomen struck early, plating two runs in the top of the first inning. Normandin led off the game with a double to the gap in left-center and Williams followed by hitting Jeffery's 3-2 pitch over the fence in right-center for her third home run of the season, giving UMass a 2-0 lead.
The top of the UMass lineup teamed up to produce another run in the top of the fifth. With one out, Normandin doubled again to left-center and Williams followed with a double of her own to right-center to drive in her third run of the game and put UMass on top, 3-0.
Balschmiter (22-4) pitched herself out of trouble several times throughout the game. The senior allowed four hits, one walk, and hit one batter, but stranded nine Charlotte runners on the bases with the help of eight strikeouts for her 114th career victory and 60th shutout. Emily Jeffery took the loss for Charlotte, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks.
The Minutewomen jumped out to an early lead in game two as well, plating three runs in the top of the first. Sarah Reeves drove in the first run with a RBI single, followed up by a 2-RBI single by Audrey Boutin.
After Charlotte came back with four runs in the bottom half of the inning, three of which were earned, on three hits and an error, Whitney Mollica kept the UMass offense going in the top of the second. After singles by Davina Hernandez and Normandin, the senior third baseman crushed 49ers starter Katy Hackett's 0-1 pitch out of the park to left field for a three-run home run, Mollica's third of the season and 25th of her career, giving the Minutewomen a 6-4 lead.
Charlotte then brought in game one starter Jeffery and she held UMass scoreless the rest of the way, scattering four hits and striking out five over 5 2/3 innings to earn the victory.
The 49ers then went on to score four more runs in the bottom of the second, all unearned, on three hits and two errors. They added another unearned run in the third on two hits and an error. The 49ers pieced together three singles each in the fifth and sixth innings to score one run in each frame and make the lead 11-6.
Sara Plourde (6-1) lost the first game of her career, allowing 11 runs, only five of which were earned due to the tied-for-season-high four errors, on 15 hits while striking out two.
Normandin finished the day 5-for-8 with three doubles and extended her hitting streak to 22 games.
The Minutewomen return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Kingston, R.I. to take on the Rams in an Atlantic 10 doubleheader at 2:30 p.m.