Softball Knocks Off Fordham, 8-2; Advance To Saturday's A-10 Championship Game
May 13, 2005
BRONX, N.Y. -- Massachusetts (36-14-1) tagged A-10 Pitcher of the Year Sara Kinney for five runs on six hits en route to an 8-2 win over top-seeded Fordham (37-15) in the A-10 Tournament. With the win, UMass advances to tomorrow's championship game. Freshman Stacy Cullington (Encinitas, Calif.) hit two home runs, while sophomore Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) hit her first career home run. Junior Jenna Busa (Lexington, Mass.) went the distance allowing two runs (one earned), on five hits and two walks.
Busa improved to 16-5 with her second win in as many days at the A-10 Tournament. For Cullington, it was her first career multi-home run game and she now has six on the season. It was also just the second time in the history of the A-10 Tournament that a player had had a two-home run game. Penn State's Nan Sichler did it against Temple in 1988. Puglia. UMass also tied a championship record with the three home runs in the game. The Nittany Lions did it in that same game against the Owls in 1988. With five home runs in the two games so far, UMass has broken the championship record for most long balls.
Fordham scored an unearned run in the first off Busa. After there were two outs, an error, hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases. Jaime Dautel then reached on an infield single off Busa's leg giving the Rams a 1-0 lead.
The Minutewomen came back and took the lead for good with a four-run third inning. Senior Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) led off with a double and then scored on an error by Kinney one batter later. Sophomore Amanda Morin (Worcester, Mass.) bunted and as Kinney fielded the ball, she threw it into right field allowing Puglia, the tying, run to score. After junior KJ Kelley (Rainier, Ore.) sacrificed Morin to third base, senior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) doubled to right-center field driving in Morin with the eventual winning run. Cullington gave UMass a 4-1 lead with a long home run into the tennis courts beyond left-center field.
Katie Davis made it a 4-2 game with a home run to right field leading off the third inning. UMass got that run right back in the fourth. Molinari hit a solo home run, the first of her career. The home run also knocked Kinney out of the game as she did not come out to start the fifth.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Fordham had a golden chance to cut into the lead off Busa. Back-to-back singles gave the Rams to runners on with nobody out. The number nine hitter, Allison Storc did not bunt the runners over and eventually grounded out. Busa got out of the jam with a foul out and a ground out.
In the fifth, Cullington made it a 6-2 game with her second home run and then the Minutewomen broke it open with two runs in the sixth. With runners on second and third, Puglia had a two-run single to center. The last three runs came off of Fordham reliever Rachael Wiggins.
Massachusetts now advances to Saturday's championship game at 12:00 PM. Its opponent will depend on the outcome of the rest of today's games. All games from this weekend's tournament will be broadcast online at www.umassathletics.com. Bob Behler and Seth Gerard will have the call beginning 15 minutes before first pitch.