Softball Beats Chattanooga, 3-2
May 16, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A two-out, three-run home run by sophomore Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) in the top of the fifth inning lifted the third-seeded University of Massachusetts softball team (37-14) to a 3-2 win over UT-chattanooga (37-30) this morning in an elimination game of the NCAA Regional Tournament at the University of Alabama. UMass will now face the loser of this afternoon's Illinois/Alabama game at 8:30 Eastern tonight.
Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, UMass recorded three straight singles to load the bases with nobody out. Junior Aisha Franke (Philadelphia, Pa.) led off with an infield single and moved to second base on a single to left by junior Jamie Cahalan (Mesa, Ariz.). Senior Anna Perey (Chino Valley, Ariz.) attempted to move the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt but placed it perfectly between the pitcher and first baseman and was able to beat it out. Senior Emily Robustelli (Stamford, Conn.) laced an 0-2 pitch directly at the UTC shortstop. She then fired to third to double-up Franke.
Just when it looked like Chattanooga might escape the jam, Puglia hit a 1-1 pitch over the scoreboard in left field. On the mound, Holtz made the runs stand, retiring the last 18 batters she faced after allowing a leadoff walk in the second inning. She gave up two runs, both unearned, on two hits and two walks while fanning five.
Chattanooga took advantage of a UMass error to plate two unearned runs in the first inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Jada Pescatore and Paige Cochrane. Sara Meek pitched the first four-plus innings for the Lady Mocs, but was lifted when the Minutewomen loaded the bases in the fifth. She was credited with two of the runs, while surrendering five hits and a walk while fanning four. Awbrey Winckler gave up one earned run on three hits, including Puglia'a home run, and no walks, She struck out two.
Massachusetts will face the loser of this afternoon's game between Alabama and Illinois in an elimination game at 8:30 p.m. Eastern tonight.