May 8, 2009
BRONX, N.Y. - The rains came to Fordham University's Bahoshy Softball Field on Thursday, causing a four-hour, 15-minute rain delay in the first game and allowing completion of just two of the three scheduled games on day two of the 2009 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship. In first game on Thursday, top-seeded Massachusetts defeated fourth-seeded Fordham, 5-1, behind a championship-tying record three home runs, while second-seeded Charlotte took care of third-seeded Saint Louis, 3-2 in eight innings, in the second game.
Action will resume tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. when Fordham faces Saint Joseph's in the loser's bracket followed by Massachusetts and Charlotte at 1:00 p.m. in the winner's bracket. The third game on Friday will feature the winner of the first game against Saint Louis at 3:00 p.m.
In the first game of the day, Massachusetts tied a championship record with three home runs, all solo shots, to upend Fordham, 5-1. It marked the third time a Minutewomen team hit three home runs in a championship game, the last time coming against Fordham in 2005, a year they connected on three round trippers in two different games against the Rams. Penn State was the first Atlantic 10 team to hit three home runs in a championship game, doing so against Temple in 1988.
One of those home runs was also a record-setter for Massachusetts' Samantha Salato, who connected on her 16th of the year to establish a new school and Atlantic 10 single season mark. She surpasses former teammate Stacy Cullington who hit 15 for the Minutewomen in 2007.
Another Atlantic 10 Championship record was tied in the second game as Charlotte's Keri Palma became the fifth player to walk three times in an A-10 Championship game, the first since Fordham's Krystle Henry in 2005.
Game 4 - #24/20 Massachusetts 5, Fordham 1
In game one, Sarah Reeves and Samantha Salato got the Minutewomen on the board in the second, leading off the inning with back-to-back home runs. It was tenth home run of the year for Reeves and the record-setting 16th for Salato.
Carly Normandin made it a 3-0 game for Massachusetts when she led off the third with a solo shot, her tenth of the year.
The Minutewomen extended the lead to 4-0 with an unearned run in the fifth as Davina Hernandez led off reaching on an error and moved to second on a walk to Normandin. A Whitney Williams fielder's choice moved Hernandez to third where she would score later in the inning on a Reeves single.
The Rams picked up a run in the top of the sixth when Meaghan Shager reached on a one-out single but she was erased on a Melissa Andrews fielder's choice. Andrews stole second and, after a walk to Lindsey Kay Bright, Mary Beth Puccio delivered Andrews with a single to left.
Massachusetts regained a four-run lead with an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI double from Hernandez.
Brandice Balschmiter, the 2009 Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year, threw a complete game, four-hitter, striking out five, to go to 29-4 on the year.
Beckah Wiggins collected two of the four hits for the Rams.
#24/20 Massachusetts improves to 36-8 while Fordham falls to 37-21.
Game 5 - Charlotte 3, Saint Louis 2 (8 innings)
In the second game of the day, Whitney Williams' eighth inning single with one out and the bases loaded brought in Kendra McCall with the game-winner to help Charlotte advance in the winner's bracket.
Jaime West opened the 49er eighth with a double and McCall came on to pinch run. Lorena Vela was hit by a pitch and Jenny Rumbles hit a ground ball to third but McCall beat the throw to third to load the bases. After Sarah Malene struck out, Williams grounded a single through the right side to end the game.
Charlotte took a 1-0 lead in the second when Palma walked with two outs and took second on a wild pitch. After West walked to put runners on first and second, Vela singled up the middle to bring in Palma.
The 49ers increased the lead to 2-0 in the fourth when Palma led off with a walk and West sacrificed her to second. Palma then took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Vela sacrifice fly.
The 2-0 lead looked like it would hold up as Charlotte pitcher Emily Jeffrey limited the Billikens to just two hits over the first six innings. But Rachel Heet led off the Saint Louis seventh with a single and Nicki Jost followed with her third home run of the year to force extra innings.
Jeffrey went the distance for Charlotte, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out ten to go to 23-8 on the year. Cee Brooks led the 49ers offense, going 2-for-4, while Vela drove in a pair of runs.
With the win, Charlotte improves to 33-14 on the year while Saint Louis falls to 22-32.