Softball Downs Temple, 8-0 In Five Innings To Advance In A-10 Championship
May 10, 2007
AMHERST, Mass. -- Sophomore Brandice Balschmiter (Newark, N.Y.) pitched a three-hit shutout to lead Massachusetts (35-12-1) to an 8-0 five-inning win over Temple (18-20) in the Atlantic 10 Championship. The Minutewomen will move on in the winner's bracket and play again Friday at 2:00 PM. UMass also extended the nation's longest overall winning streak and home winning streak to 24 and 30 games, respectively. Balschmiter (25-8) allowed just three singles, one walk and seven strikeouts en route to her 13th shutout of the season while also extending her scoreless innings streak to 29.0. Senior Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) and junior Lauren Proctor (La Jolla, Calif.) had two hits apiece to pace a 10-hit UMass attack.
UMass made Temple pitcher Brianna Dairy throw 42 pitches and work hard in the bottom of the first inning. The Minutewomen sent eight batters to the plate and scored two runs off of just one hit. Senior Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) got it going with a one-out walk and went to second base as Dairy was called for a balk. Junior Stacy Cullington (Encinitas, Calif.) walked and then junior Lauren Proctor (La Jolla, Calif.) was hit by a pitch loading the bases with one out. Sophomore Whitney Mollica (Windham, N.H.) popped a 2-0 pitch into foul territory off the right side. Temple right fielder Katie Burdeaux elected to let the ball fall in though as she was fearful of Molinari tagging up with the game's first run. On the next pitch, Mollica hit a slow roller to second base. Natalie Wagner came up with it cleanly, but her throw home was too late as Molinari scored the first run. Senior Amanda Acampora (Orange, Conn.) hit a sacrifice fly driving in Cullington and making the score 2-0. Sophomore Samantha Salato (Toms River, N.J.) drew a walk after a 16-pitch at bat to re-load the bases, but freshman Jessica Serio (Barrington, R.I.) popped up to end the long inning.
Dairy retired the Minutewomen in order in the bottom of the second inning, but three more runs in the third ended her day early. Cullington led off with a double to the gap in left-center and senior pinch runner Jackie Teman (Downingtown, Pa.) came around to score when Proctor tripled to the same spot as Cullington's double. With UMass now up 3-0, Ashley Smuda came into pitch for Dairy.
Smuda began her day by walking Mollica and then UMass tried a double-steal. Mollica took off for second and Proctor was able to score the fourth run as Wagner's throw home was wide. Later in the inning, back-to-back singles by Salato and freshman Whitney Williams (Kingsley, Pa.).
In the top of the fourth, A-10 Player of the Year Adrienne Repsher singled just inside the third-base bag for the first Owl hit of the day, but Balschmiter was able to keep them off the scoreboard.
The Owls had a threat in the top of the fifth as Shannon James and Brittany Burks had back-to-back hits, but Balschmiter came back to strike out Anna Rico and Jessica Rohn and erase the threat.
UMass then put the game away with a three-run fifth inning that enforced the run-rule. Acampora began the inning by reaching on an error and then sophomore pinch runner Davina Hernandez (Bristol, Conn.) was bunted to second base by Salato. RBI singles by Serio and Williams made it a 7-0 game and then two batters later Molinari ripped a RBI single into the left field corner that brought Williams home with the winning run.
UMass will advance in the winner's bracket and play in Friday's second game at approximately 2:00 PM against an opponent yet to be determined. Live video, audio and stats of every A-10 Championship game will be available via the Championship Central button on www.umassathletics.com. Video is available on a pay-per-view basis for $6.95 a game or $24.95 for the entire championship. Tickets to the Atlantic 10 Softball Championship are $7.00 for adults for single days and $20.00 for a four-day package. A-10 students and children get in for $3.00 for single day tickets and $10.00 for four-day packages. Tickets will be sold at the entrance to the UMass Softball Complex on game-day. As always, audio is available at www.umassathletics.com beginning 15 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch. Bob Behler, Matt Goldstein and Emily Wehr have the call.