Softball Will Play Temple In A-10 Title Game
May 9, 2003
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts (35-13) and Temple University (22-19) both survived the second day of action this afternoon at the 2003 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship and will play for the title tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. UMass beat Temple, 2-1, in game three to start off the day, while the Owls responded with a 6-0 triumph over Saint Joseph's 25-15) in game five, 6-0, to also secure a spot in the championship game. The Hawks eliminated Fordham (37-19), 3-2, in game four.
In game three, UMass senior leadoff hitter Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.) hit the first pitch she saw over the left field fence to give the Minutewomen a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. It was her sixth four-bagger of the season and fourth to lead off a game. Temple tied the game with a run of its own in the top of the third. TU sophomore Aida Esquer (Chula Vista, Calif.) led off with a single and advanced to second when freshman Lauren Evans (Mission Viejo, Calif.) followed with a single. Two batters later, freshman Jessica Rohn (Nazareth, Pa.) singled to load the bases. The Owls got on the board when junior Katie Weigle (Naples, Fla.) drew a walk to force in the tying run, but UMass senior pitcher Kaila Holtz (North Vancouver, British Columbia) got the next two batters on a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat.
The game remained deadlocked at one until UMass plated the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning and extended its home winning streak to 57 games. Robustelli hit a one-out double to right-center field to get things started and advanced to third on a fly out by sophomore Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.). Temple then elected to intentionally walk the next two hitters, loading the bases for freshman KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.). On the first pitch she saw, Kelley singled sharply up the middle to bring home Robustelli and send the Minutewomen into the championship game.
Holtz walked a season-high four batters and struck out eight en route to her second win in the tournament. Freshman Vicky Grasham (Tucson, Ariz.) took the tough loss for the Owls and gave up two earned runs on eight hits and four walks, while fanning four.
In game four, Saint Joseph's took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when junior Lindsey McNamara (Southampton, N.J.) homered to left field. SJU pitcher Dana Travis (Newark, Del.) made that lead stand until she surrendered two unearned runs in the top of the fifth inning. Fordham freshman Brandi Kean (Mt. Ephraim, N.J.) singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on a single by sophomore Jamie Dautel (Sewell, N.J.). The next two Rams struck out, but a double steal after the second one moved the go-ahead run into scoring position with two outs. On a 2-2 pitch, sophomore Ivy Pollock (San Diego, Calif.) hit a pop-up to sophomore Robin Berry (Clifton Heights, Pa.), but she could not catch it and both runs scored giving Fordham a 2-1 lead.
Saint Joseph's came back to score two runs, one of which was unearned, in the bottom of the seventh inning to end Fordham's season. SJU freshman Jill Clementi (Bloomfield, N.J.) drew a walk and Berry reached on a fielders choice to put the first two baserunners on with nobody out. After a sacrifice bunt moved them into scoring position, senior Brandi Adams (Newtown, Pa.) reached on a fielders choice to bring home the winning run. After a strikeout brought Fordham pitcher Michelle Schlichtig (Barrington, N.J.) within one out of sending the game into extra innings, SJU sophomore Megan Richardson (Bear, Del.) reached on an error to bring home the winning run. She hit a ground ball to third, but Fordham second baseman Amy Jones (Tempe, Ariz.), who was covering the bag for the charging first baseman, dropped the ball and allowed the winning run to score.
Schlichtig took the tough loss for the Rams, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk while striking out 10. Travis earned the win, allowing two unearned runs on five hits and no walks. She struck out seven batters. (MORE) In the third game of the day, Temple pitcher Elizabeth Naughton (Olyphant, Pa.) hurled a shutout as the Owls eliminated Saint Joseph's, 6-0. Temple scored a single run in the first and second innings, and added a pair in the fourth and sixth frames to claim the second slot in tomorrow's championship game. At the top of the order, Rohn and Weigle each went 2-2, while junior Lynsey Grace (New Bedford, Mass.) had three RBI in the win. Weigle and junior Alexis Gary (San Diego, Calif.) also recorded an RBI.
Naughton allowed just four hits and a walk, while fanning four in the win. For Saint Joseph's, Adams allowed nine hits and six earned runs in the loss. She walked six and struck out two.
Massachusetts and Temple will play for the A-10 title tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. If necessary, the two teams will play a seventh game 30 minutes following the conclusion of game six.