Softball Downs Louisiana-Lafayette, 5-3, In 13 Innings
May 16, 2002
LAFAYETTE, La. - The No. 4 seed University of Massachusetts defeated No. 3 seed and host Louisiana-Lafayette, 5-3, in the first round of the NCAA Regional Softball Tournament this evening. The extra-inning victory improves the Minutewomen to 53-11 overall and advances them to the second round of play with a 5:00 p.m. game against No. 2 seed Arizona State tomorrow.
UMass got on the board in the top of the fifth on two hits. Senior Teri Rooney (Visalia, Calif.) led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second with her eighth stolen base of the season. Junior Kaila Holtz (North Vancouver, British Columbia) then drilled a two out line drive over the second baseman to score Rooney from second and give the Minutewomen the 1-0 edge.
Louisiana-Lafayette answered in the bottom half of the fifth inning on two hits and a UMass error. The Lady Cajuns loaded the bases with one out on back-to-back singles and a walk. A UMass throwing error at the plate scored Jerie Alexander to knot the score, 1-1. Holtz then forced a line out and a weak comebacker to the mound to end the inning and strand three ULL runners on base.
The Lady Cajuns took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the sixth inning on a solo home run over the right field wall by Tiffany Grayson, her tenth dinger of the season. The home run marked the first earned run UMass has allowed in 56 innings of play.
With two outs and a two strike count in the top of the seventh, Holtz laced a shot into left field to score Rooney from third base and tie the game at 2-2. Holtz returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side in order and force the game into extra-innings.
Junior Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.) crushed a pitch over the left field wall to lead off the ninth inning and put UMass on top, 3-2, but the Lady Cajuns would not go quietly. In the bottom the ninth Missy Martin hit a two out RBI single to score Becky McMurtry and tie the game at 3-3.
The Minutewomen tallied the game-winning run on back-to-back Louisiana-Lafayette errors which scored Holtz from first. Junior Anna Perey (Chino Valley, Ariz.) added an insurance run when she singled down the third base line to score sophomore Jamie Cahalan (Mesa, Ariz.) from third.
Senior hurler Jennifer Hadley (Bristol, Conn.) relieved Holtz on the mound in the 12th inning.Hadley had two strikeouts and gave up two hits to earn her 25th win of the season, which ties her for the fourth best single-season wins mark in school history. Holtz finished with 10 strikeouts, while allowing 15 hits and three runs. Rooney went 2-for-5 at the plate to break the record for single-season hits with 77. Holtz, Perey and Robustelli each batted 3-for-6 on the game.