Texas 1, Massachusetts 0
Texas 1, Massachusetts 0May 20, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas- USA Softball National Player of the Year candidate and junior lefthander Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) fired her fifth no-hitter of the season and the 14th of her career, to lead No. 5 ranked Texas to a 1-0 victory over the University of Massachusetts Friday night in NCAA Division I Softball Championship first-round action. The games are being contested at The University of Texas' Red and Charline McCombs Field, with Texas serving as host school.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, UT sophomore catcher Megan Willis (Chandler, Ariz.) had her fourth game-winning RBI in the last eight games when she plated freshman shortstop Desiree Williams (Tucson, Ariz.) with a two-out single to right-center field. Williams had blasted a two-out double to left prior to Willis turn at bat.
Texas, now 43-11, earned its eighth straight win and will face Mississippi State (34-29) in the Regional winner's bracket on Saturday, May 21 at noon (Central Time). UMass, now 37-15-1, will go against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (41-10) in the loser's bracket game at 2:30 p.m. (Central). MSU blanked TAMUCC, 1-0, in Friday's other first round action. The regional tourney is double-elimination.
Osterman improves to 25-6 with the victory. The no-hitter was Osterman's second in her last three starts. She struck out 13 of the first 19 batters she faced, and finished the game with 14 K's, tying her own Texas school mark for most strikeouts in an NCAA regional game. Osterman also had 14 strikeouts against Southwest Texas (now Texas State) on May 18, 2003 in NCAA play.
Osterman faced one batter over the minimum, pitching to 22 batters in seven innings of work. The only Minutewoman batter to reach base was designated player Stacy Cullington. Batting in the fifth spot, Cullington drew a one-out walk on a 3-2 count in the fifth. UMass senior righthander Barb LaFogg (20-10) was the hard-luck loser, hurling a three-hitter while striking out four and walking one. She allowed singles to Willis and first baseman Alexis Garcia and the double to Williams.
Both teams played errorless ball. Texas left two on base while UMass stranded one (Cullington).
Massachusetts Head Coach Elaine Sortino
Her general statement on the game... "I thought Cat (Osterman) threw a great game tonight. We came here with a pretty good plan and did a good job at being patient at the plate. We knew what we were looking for from Cat. We didn't see her horizontal ball a lot, but when we did, we did a good job of swinging at it. I thought our players played great defense today, and Barb (LaFogg) threw a good game. I don't think anyone but our players, coaching staff and parents thought we were going to win this game. Our players are pretty persistent and are a good hitting team. We do have the potential to come up with the long ball, and we were still in the game with every pitch."
On facing Cat Osterman... "We were looking for that horizontal pitch from her. She's got a great drop ball, and we were pretty disciplined about laying off the rise ball. I thought her down pitch was effective early. When Cat can go up-and-down on you like she did, you've got to have something you are looking for when you step to the plate. She didn't put too many balls on the plate today. She didn't make very many mistakes and was very sharp tonight."
Senior pitcher Barb LaFogg
"I feel like we should still be playing right now. I'll go into it tomorrow knowing I can do better. I will hit my spots and keep the ball off the plate."
Texas Head Coach Connie Clark
Her general assessment of the game... "It was good to pick off where we left off from the Big 12 Tournament. We were hitting at all cylinders there and it was good to see us hit well tonight. We had a good mid-inning rally that gave us all the offense we needed."
On the play of (sophomore catcher) Megan Willis and junior pitcher Cat Osterman... "Megan Willis has really stepped up for us repeatedly in the post-season (including Big 12 Tournament play). I get excited to see her every time that she gets up to the plate and is in a position to drive in a run. As for Cat, she is really really fresh right now. Her arm is alive. It's good to see her perform well tonight. It gets in our heads on defense a bit when Cat is in the circle. We get complacent at times. I felt like tonight we did a good job of staying focused; sometimes that's a tough thing to do with Cat on the mound and dominating like she does."
Junior pitcher Cat Osterman
"I felt very rested out there today. My arm and body both feel great after a week's worth of rest. Day to day, I am fresher in the post-season than I am during the grind of the regular season."
-- Courtesy Texas