Softball Falls To #23 Georgia Tech, 1-0
May 20, 2004
ATHENS, Ga. - Junior pitcher Kelli Arnold (Kalama, Wash.) gave up just one run on five hits and a walk, but No. 23 Georgia Tech (46-17) scored one run in the bottom of the fifth inning to defeat Massachusetts (33-16), 1-0, in the first game of the NCAA Regional Tournament at the University of Georgia Soccer/Softball Complex. The Minutewomen will now face Eastern Kentucky tonight in the loser's bracket game at 8:00 p.m.
Massachusetts had its best chance to score in the first inning. Junior Hilary Puglia (Stoneham, Mass.) led off with a walk. Freshman Candice Molinari (Glendora, Calif.) struck out, but Puglia stole second base to get into scoring position with one out. A passed ball then put Puglia on third for sophomore Katie Jo Kelley (Rainier, Ore.). Kelley worked a 3-0 count, but eventually popped out for the second out of the inning. Junior Denise Denis (Middle Grove, N.Y.) then struck out to end the inning.
That tuned out to be the last rally the Minutewomen would have. Georgia Tech pitcher Jessica Sallinger was dominant as she allowed just two infield hits and one walk while fanning 11. She passed the 100-strikeout plateau this afternoon.
Arnold was just as dominant in the game. After retiring the first nine batters she faced, Soraya Reddick led off the fourth inning with a walk. She was picked off first base, however, by UMass senior catcher Jamie Cahalan (Mesa, Ariz.) for the first out of the inning. Kirin Kumar then singled up the middle and after a double by Tara Knudsen, the Yellow Jackets had runners on second and third with just one out. On a 2-1 pitch, clean-up hitter Katie Donovan laid down a perfect bunt in front of the plate. Cahalan pounced on it, but Kumar scored from third on the squeeze and Tech took the lead, 1-0. Arnold got out of the inning on a line-out to third and then Knudsen was picked off of third base.
All UMass could muster the rest of the way was a bunt single by sophomore Kristi Stefanoni (Columbus, N.J.) and UMass fell to the loser's bracket. Last year after dropping its first game, UMass won three in a row before falling to Southern Illinois in the championship of the loser's bracket.
Arnold scattered five hits and walked one while fanning three.
The Minutewomen will now face Eastern Kentucky tonight in the loser's bracket game at 8:00 p.m.