Softball Sweeps La Salle, 15-1 And 3-0; Minutewomen Clinch 2nd Seed In Next Week's A-10 Tournament
April 29, 2005
AMHERST, Mass. - Massachusetts (28-14-1, 11-3 Atlantic 10) pounded out 21 hits, 10 of them for extra-bases, as it swept a doubleheader from La Salle (12-32-1, 2-10), 15-1 and 3-0, Friday afternoon at the UMass Softball Complex. UMass junior pitcher Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) celebrated her 21st birthday by throwing a one-hit shutout in game two. In game one, senior Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) was 3-for-3 with four RBI as UMass won 15-1 in five innings. Senior Barb LaFogg (Williamsburg, Mass.) also limited the Explorers to one hit, a solo home run in the third. UMass hit five home runs on the day to set a new school record for home runs in a season. The Minutewomen have 38 round-trippers so far this year.
Massachusetts clinched the second seed in the upcoming A-10 Tournament after Saint Joseph's swept St. Bonaventure on Sunday. The Minutewomen will face either the Bonnies or the Hawks at 2:00 PM on Thursday, May 12, in the first day of play. The tournament will be held on the campus of the University of Rhode Island. Fordham clinched the number one seed with a split against Dayton Sunday afternoon.
Massachusetts used the long ball to take an early lead in the first inning of game one. Puglia led off with a single up the middle and then stole second base. Two batters later, she scored when junior KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) hit a two-run home run to left. It was her team-high 10th home run of the season. Senior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) then followed with her fifth home run. It marked the fifth time that the Minutewomen have hit back-to-back home runs this year and their 10th multi-home run game of the year.
The Minutewomen added to their lead in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman Sarah Hurd (Warwick, R.I.) led off the inning with a double into the left-center field gap and later scored when Puglia singled up the middle. UMass then loaded the bases with two outs. Denis reached on an infield single and the fifth UMass run crossed the plate. Freshman Stacy Cullington (Encinitas, Calif.) then broke the game wide open with a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch. It was her first career grand slam and cleared the outer fence of the complex in left-center field. The grand slam also knocked La Salle starting pitcher Laura DeZolt from the game. Kasey Keating came into the game for the Explorers. She gave up a single to junior Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.), but retired Hurd to end the inning.
La Salle got a run back in the top of the third when Vinnie Caputo hit a solo home run, but the Minutewomen came right back in the bottom of the inning. Pinch hitter Jasmine Edwards (Queens Village, N.Y.) drew a walk and then sophomore Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) reached on an infield single. Puglia then recorded her third hit of the game with a three-run homer to left-center. It was her ninth home run of the year. UMass kept up the offensive machine. Kelley doubled and then scored two batters later when freshman Maggie Feix (North Kingstown, R.I.) doubled to right-center field. It marked her first career hit. Denis walked in between them and also scored. Ferrara next doubled for her second hit and drove in another UMass run. UMass scored its sixth run of the inning when freshman Angela Conforti (West Boylston, Mass.) reached on an error. It marked the second straight six-run inning for UMass as it took a 15-1 lead into the fourth.
UMass did not score in the fourth, but LaFogg retired the Explorers in order in the fifth and UMass notched the mercy-rule win. LaFogg, who improved to 17-9 on the season, allowed just the one hit on the home run. She walked two and struck out eight.
In game one, every player on the UMass roster got in the game with the exception of Busa, who started the second game. In addition, every UMass starter reached base and eight of the nine notched at least one hit. Four players recorded at least two hits led by Puglia who was 3-for-3 with four RBI. She walked once.
In game two, Busa was locked up in a pitcher's dual early on with La Salle hurler Carissa Segura. Neither team scored through the first three innings. UMass had singles by Hurd and Cullington while the Explorers had one single off the bat of DeZolt.
UMass got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning when a pair of freshman came though with two outs. Stacy Cullington just missed a home run when her shot to left-center field hit the top of the fence. On the very next pitch, freshman Lauren Proctor (Redmond, Wash.) drove her home with a two-run shot to right-center field. For Proctor, it was her second home run of the year.
The Minutewomen then gave Busa an insurance run in the fifth. Molinari led off by reaching on an infield single. She was able to get to third as Segura threw the ball into right field fielding the grounder. She scored later when Puglia hit a sacrifice fly to left. Kate Bongiovanni made the catch in left with her back pressed up against the wall.
Busa went the distance for her second complete-game shutout of the season. She allowed just one hit and three walks while fanning seven. Last year, on her 20th birthday, Busa threw a three-hit shutout against Rhode Island. Cullington was 2-for-3 for UMass in game two.
Massachusetts will enjoy the weekend off before hosting a pair of regional rivals next week. The Minutewomen host Boston University on Tuesday, May 3, and Boston College on Wednesday, May 4. Both are single games with first pitch scheduled for 5:00 PM. The BC game will be broadcast online beginning at 4:45 PM. In addition, live stats are available for all remaining UMass games this season via Gametracker. All of these links can be found at www.umassathletics.com.