UMass Softball Forces Decisive Game With 5-1 Win Over Washington
May 17, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - Whitney Mollica and Samantha Salato crushed early home runs and Brandice Balschmiter followed up Saturday's perfect game with another gem as the UMass softball team topped Washington, 5-1, on Sunday to force a decisive game in the NCAA Amherst Regional. First pitch is slated for 8:05 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Super Regionals to face either No. 14 Georgia Tech or Boston University. Mollica finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs in becoming the program's career RBI leader with 156. UMass' two home runs off Danielle Lawrie marked the most the Washington pitcher has allowed this season.
Four of UMass' seven hits were extra base knocks, led by Mollica's double and home run. Her third inning long ball, which opened the scoring, broke a tie with KJ Kelley atop the UMass career RBI list. Carly Normandin and Salato also finished with a pair of hits.
Balschmiter tossed the complete game, allowing an earned run on three hits with four strikeouts. The Minutewomen offense bounced back from a tough Saturday against Lawrie with five runs (all earned) in seven innings.
A huge three run home run by Mollica in the top of the third inning gave UMass its first lead of the weekend against the Huskies. With two outs, Normandin doubled to right-center field to start the rally. After Whitney Williams walked, Mollica launched a no-doubter to left field, giving the Minutewomen a 3-0 advantage.
Washington answered with a run in the bottom of the inning when Ashley Charters lofted a triple to left field, plating Lauren Greer, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame.
It wouldn't take long for the Minutewomen to answer as Salato launched a home run on the first pitch of the fourth to make it 4-1. The long ball was her second of the NCAA Tournament and 18th of the season to extend her own single-season record.
Both pitchers settled down over the fifth and sixth, but a Williams seventh inning single drove in Davina Hernandez from second base to give UMass an insurance run for the 5-1 final.