Softball Sweeps Rhode Island, 12-2 and 9-0, Behind Busa's No-Hitter And Two Home Runs
KINGSTON, R.I. - Massachusetts (32-14, 13-3 A-10) outhit Rhode Island (8-35, 3-11 A-10) 22-4 en route to a doubleheader sweep, 12-2 and 9-0, on Friday afternoon at the Rhode Island Softball Field. UMass junior pitcher Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) threw her second-career no-hitter and went 3-for-3 with two home runs and six RBI at the plate as UMass won the second game, 9-0, in five innings. In the first game, junior KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) and freshman Stacy Cullington (Encinitas, Calif.) each went 3-for-4 with three RBI as the Minutewomen won 12-2 in six innings. Kelley finished with two homers on the day, which gives her a team-high 12 on the season.
In game one, the Rams took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Megan Long hit a two-out, solo home run to left-center field. UMass freshman Lauren Proctor (Redmond, Wash.) immediately tied the game in the top of the second when she hit a solo home run to the same exact spot. It was her third home run of the season.
The Minutewomen then took a 3-1 lead in the third. Sophomore Amanda Morin (Worcester, Mass.) singled with one out and scored one batter later when Kelley crushed her 11th home run to dead center field.
After taking the lead, the Minutewomen kept up the offensive pressure in the third inning. Following the Kelley blast, Denis struck out but reached first on a wild pitch. She then moved to third when Cullington doubled down the left-field line. After Proctor walked, senior Pam Sulick (Mission Viejo, Calif.) came up with the bases loaded. Sulick reached on a fielder's choice as Denis was cut down at the plate. Junior Lesley Ferrara (Stamford, Conn.) then pinch hit and reached on an error as her ground ball went right through third baseman Alyssa Martino's legs. Two runs were able to score giving UMass a 5-1 lead. That also knocked URI starting pitcher Jill Andreson from the game. Katie Halcomb came in the game to face sophomore Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.). Molinari also reached on error and the sixth UMass run was able to score. The inning ended when UMass tried a double steal. Hurd was gunned down at the plate for the third out, but UMass took a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the third inning.
Rhode Island chipped away a little when Martino hit a two-out solo home run down the left-field line in the bottom of the third inning. For Martino, it was her team-high sixth home run of the season. UMass senior Barb LaFogg (Williamsburg, Mass.) did strike out the side in the third and had seven k's through the first three frames.
UMass added to its lead in the fourth. Senior Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) led off with a single, stole second base and then scored two batters later on a single by Kelley. Denis then doubled down the left-field line and freshman pinch runner Maggie Feix (North Kingstown, R.I.) scored all the way from first giving the Minutewomen an 8-2 lead. The ninth UMass run crossed the plate on a successful suicide squeeze. Cullington laid down the bunt in front of the plate and Denis raced home. The throw by Halcomb was not in time and UMass went up 9-2. The Minutewomen did not score any more in the inning.
After Morin led off the sixth with a walk, the third Rhode Island pitcher of the day, Chelsae Wolfe, came into the game. UMass scored three runs in the frame to take a 12-2 lead and force the mercy-rule. Two runs scored on a single by Cullington. She went all the way to third base on an overthrow and scored one batter later when Proctor grounded out.
In the bottom of the sixth, LaFogg closed the door on the Rams and improved to 19-9 on the season. She scattered four hits and struck out 11. LaFogg did not issue a walk.
At the plate, Kelley and Cullington paced the UMass offense. They each went 3-for-4 with three RBI. UMass recorded 12 hits in the game.
The UMass offense picked right up where it left off in game two. Puglia led off with a double but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Morin singled and then Kelley drew a walk to put two runners on with one out. Denis gave UMass a 1-0 lead when she singled. Two more runs scored later in the inning on a single by Busa. The inning ended when Proctor, who walked, tried to score from first on the play. UMass scored three runs in the first inning on four hits, but ran into two outs on the base paths.
In the bottom of the first, an error and a walk gave the Rams runners at the corners with just out. Busa was able to get out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out.
Kelley gave UMass a 4-0 lead in the top of the third with a solo home run well over the right-center field fence. It was her second round-tripper of the day and team-high 12th of the year. UMass added two more runs later in the inning. Cullington singled and a few batters later, Busa hit a home run almost in the same spot as Kelley's. The two-run shot was the second of her career, all this week. Junior Kristi Stefanoni (Columbus, N.J.) just missed going back-to-back with Busa as she hit a double off the left-center field wall. It also knocked URI pitcher Jaime Hughes from the game. Wolfe entered the game in relief for the second time on the day. She got Molinari on a ground out to end the inning.
The game stayed 6-0 until the top of the fifth. Cullington drew a walk and then freshman pinch runner Sarah Hurd (Warwick, R.I.) scored on a double by Proctor. Two more runs scored later in the inning when Busa blasted her second home run of the game. It was her first career multi-home run game. This home run went to the same exact spot in right-center field. The two-run shot gave UMass a 9-0 lead and enforced the mercy-rule.
Busa went five innings as she improved to 13-5 on the year. She allowed five walks and struck out four.
Massachusetts will play its final regular season doubleheader on Sunday when it hosts Quinnipiac at 12:00 PM. The five UMass seniors will be honored in a ceremony between games. Both games will be broadcast online. Bob Behler, Matt Goldstein and Derek Volner will have the call beginning at 11:45 a.m. Live stats will also be provided for the games via Gametracker. Links for Gametracker as well as the live audio will be on www.umassathletics.com.