May 13, 2011
Box Score in PDF Format
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Fordham Rams (40-17) advance to the championship game of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship after defeating defending-champion Massachusetts (29-18), 1-0 in 10 innings at the D.L. Phillips Softball Complex in Charlotte, N.C.
Beckah Wiggins, who went 1-for-2 with a double, booked the lone run in the pitchers' battle as All-Conference pitchers Jen Mineau of Fordham and Sara Plourde of Massachusetts kept their opponents' offense to a minimum.
"Similar to yesterday, you struggle in the beginning when facing a really good pitcher like Sara Plourde, but it just takes a lot of adjustments, a lot of patience against a pitcher like that," said Wiggins. "It was my fourth at-bat, so I went up there with the mentality that anything close I was going to hit it. Luckily the first pitch was there, so it worked out."
Plourde gave up a hit in the second, but would retire the next 19 batters. She allowed just four hits through nine innings of work, booking 10 strikeouts on the day. The junior falls to 27-14 with the loss.
Mineau remained unhittable through five innings, before Lindsey Webster was able to single in the top of the sixth. She fanned six batters and finished with just two hits in 10 innings in the circle and improves to 22-7 on the season.
"Battling this heat and working as hard as she did. She got some big outs and getting people to pop out so that she didn't have to throw as many pitches was key," Fordham Head Coach Bridget Orchard said of Mineau.
It seemed Fordham would break the stalemate in the eighth after Wiggins drew a walk. Lindsey Kay Bright would then single and advance to second on an error, placing Wiggins at third, but the Rams would leave both runners on base as Plourde struck out Jocelyn Dearborn to end the inning.
After another scoreless inning, Fordham was able to seal a trip to the championship in the bottom of the 10th. Wiggins would open things up yet again for the Rams with a lead-off double, then advance to third on a wild pitch. A ground ball to short by Lindsey Kay Bright would score Wiggins to end the game and secure the Rams' third consecutive trip to the A-10 Finals.
"It's huge for us. This is what we have played all season for," Orchard commented. "We keep telling the girls this is what we are in it for. We played a lot of tough games early on hoping to get to the championship game, so to have it actually happen is really amazing."
The Rams will face an undetermined opponent, while the Minutewomen will play with winner of the #5 Charlotte/#3 Saint Joseph's matchup, Friday evening at 5:00 p.m.