May 12, 2011
Box Score in PDF Format
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Top-seeded Fordham (39-17) advanced into the semifinals of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship with a 2-0 victory over fifth-seeded Charlotte (29-23) Thursday afternoon at the D.L. Phillips Softball Complex. Senior second baseman Beckah Wiggins came through with the game-winning hit breaking up the shutout with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth.
"I'm just excited that we got a win," said Fordham head coach Bridget Orchard. "Any time you get to a tournament, to get wins is what we're trying to do and I'm excited that they stayed with it and they hung in there and finally scored two runs in the sixth."
Hits and runs were hard to come by in game four as the Rams and 49ers found themselves in a classic pitcher's duel. Fordham's Jen Mineau and Charlotte's Katy Hackett kept both teams off-balanced for a good portion of the afternoon until the Rams were finally able to create some offense in the sixth.
Fordham strung together three consecutive singles to load the bases with just one out in the sixth. Hackett got Jamie LaBovick to bounce into a fielder's choice groundout as 49ers shortstop Jalisa Rock threw to the plate for the second out of the inning. On the very next pitch, Wiggins came through with a clutch two-out hit singling to center to drive in a pair of runs to give the Rams a 2-0 lead.
"It was a real exciting game," added Wiggins. "Hackett's a really good pitcher and when you face a pitcher like that you have to learn to make adjustments throughout the game and I think we did. We came up with a couple hits, some walks and then I came up with a hit that just came at the right time.
"I definitely struggled with my first couple at-bats," said Wiggins. "She's a really good pitcher. But I just made an adjustment, she had been throwing changeups throughout the game and I guess in my head I thought the first or second pitch was going to be a changeup and I guessed on the right one...it just came at a good time."
Charlotte looked to mount a comeback in the top of the seventh as Briana Gwaltney drew a lead-off walk, but Mineau bounced back to get consecutive fly outs and then a strikeout looking to preserve the win.
Mineau went the distance in the circle blanking the 49ers over 7.0 innings allowing just three hits and one walk, while striking out 11. The junior right hander moves to 21-7 on the year.
"She's awesome," added Orchard on the pitching performance of Mineau. "She came out, she's a warrior, and I was a little worried about the heat today hurting her stamina but she hung with it and was able to step up and get the outs when she needed to."
Hackett (20-11) suffered the loss as she went 6.0 innings allowing two runs on five hits as she walked two and struck out five. She held the Rams at bay through the first five innings giving up just one hit.
Both teams exchanged a hit through the first three innings as Charlotte's Tenaya Tucker laced a two-out single back up the middle in the first, while Fordham's LaBovick connected on a one-out single to left in the second. But neither team was able to muster a run as both starting pitchers set the tempo during the early portion of the game.
Charlotte looked to break the scoreless tie in the fourth as Tucker led off the top of the fourth with a bloop single to center, her second hit in as many at-bats. She was replaced at first by pinch-runner Nikki Gayle, but Gayle was quickly erased on the base paths on an attempted pick-off at first. The throw from Rams catcher Gabby Luety went into right field, but Chelsea Palumbo was there to back up the throw and threw over to second in plenty of time to get Gayle for the first out of the inning. Mineau then recorded a groundout and strikeout to keep the game knotted at zero.
Fordham put the first two runners on in its half of the fourth courtesy of back-to-backs walks to Nicole Callahan and Samantha Pellechio, but Hackett escaped the jam by getting an infield pop-out and consecutive strikeouts to end the threat.
Tucker registered two of Charlotte's three hits on the afternoon, while five different Fordham players recorded a hit.
With the win, Fordham advances to face the winner of the Massachusetts/Saint Joseph's game on Friday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m. Charlotte will now face Temple in an elimination game on Thursday, May 12 at 6:00 p.m.