Arnold's No-Hitter Leads Softball Past Fordham
May 13, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts (33-13) and Saint Joseph's (20-27) advanced to the winner's bracket after the first day of play at the 2004 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship held at the UMass Softball Complex. Junior Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) threw the third no-hitter in tournament history, as UMass defeated Fordham (35-23-1), 1-0, in eight innings of game one. In game two, the Hawks scored twice in the top of the sixth for a 2-1 win over Temple (25-16).
The first game was a pitching duel between Arnold of Massachusetts and Fordham's Sara Kinney (Dripping Springs, Texas). The only run of the game scored in the bottom of the eight inning. UMass freshman Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) led off the inning by reaching on an error. She scored one batter later on a RBI double by sophomore Katie Jo Kelley (Rainier, Ore.).
Arnold (19-5) allowed just two base runners in the game, both via a hit batsman. She hit Krystle Henry (Maywood, N.J.) with one out in the first. Henry then stole second and reached third on an error. But after Erin Brooks (Norwich, N.Y.) flied out to short center, Henry was picked off third by Massachusetts catcher Jamie Calahan (Mesa, Ariz.). Catie Brandl (Plymouth, Minn.) was the other Fordham base runner, getting hit by a pitch in the third. Arnold struck out two on the day and retired the final 16 batters of the game in a row. Kinney (16-13) was the hard luck loser for the Rams, allowing five hits and the one unearned run while striking out three.
This marked the third no-hitter in A-10 Tournament play and first since Virginia Tech's Ashlee Dobbe no-hit Dayton on May 11, 2000. It is Arnold's second career solo no-hitter (she has a combined one earlier this season) and the fourth for a UMass player in postseason play. Molinari also tied a tournament single-game record by stealing two bases. It is the sixth time that it has happened and first since UMass' Aisha Franke (Philadelphia, Pa.) did it as a sophomore vs. Saint Joseph's on May 10, 2002.
Game two was also a pitcher's duel between Temple's Richelle Villescas (El Segundo, Calif.) and Dana Travis (Newark, Del.). The Owls score first with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Alexis Gary (San Diego, Calif.) led off with a single and was sacrificed to second base by Laura Gutscher (Petersburg, Ont.). Gary then went to third on a single by Lauren Evans ( Mission Viejo, Calif.). Aida Esquer (Chula Vista, Calif.) then reached on an error and Gary was able to score. Temple had a chance for more runs in the inning with two on and one out, but Melissa McCartney (Whitby, Ont.) lined into a double play.
Villescas made that lead stand up until the sixth inning when the Hawks plated two. Lindsey McNamara (Southampton, N.J.) led off with a single up the middle and then stole second base. Alicia Cunic (Allentown, Pa.) then followed with an infield single and McNamara went to third. After Jill Clementi (Bloomfield, N.J.) flied out, Temple brought A-10 Pitcher of the Year Kim Watkins (Earlville, Pa.) in. Watkins got Robin Berry (Clifton Heights, Pa.) to pop out for the inning's second out. The Hawks scored during the at bat by Rachel Pawlikowski (Wilmington, Del.) as Watkins' 1-1 pitch got by Gary behind the plate and McNamara was able to score. Cunic never slowed down and continued on to third base. When Gary's throw to Watkins covering the plate was errant, Cunic scored to give Saint Joseph's the lead, 2-1. Pawlikowski then tripled, but Watkins got out of the inning without any further damage.
With two outs in the sixth, Gutscher hit a ball off the left-field wall which missed by just a few feet from tying the game. Travis (15-10) then got out of the inning and retired the Owls in order in the seventh to advance into the winner's bracket for the first time since 1999. She scattered five hits and two walks while striking out nine. Villescas (14-12) took the loss for the Owls. She gave up three hits and no walks while fanning three in 5.1 innings. Watkins allowed one hit and had one strikeout in 1.2 innings of work.
In day two of action, Massachusetts and Saint Joseph's will play at 12:00 p.m. in the winner's bracket. Temple and Fordham will then meet in the consolation bracket at 2:00 p.m. The loser of the first game and winner of the second game will then play at 4:00 p.m.