May 21, 2010

AMHERST, Mass. - A pair of sixth inning solo home runs and a seventh inning insurance run led Long Island (38-16) to a comeback victory over host UMass (42-9-1) in the opening round of the NCAA Amherst Regional at the UMass Softball Complex on Friday night. The No. 21 Minutewomen, who had led 1-0 on a home run by Carly Normandin in the fifth inning, will face Boston University in an elimination game on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Terriers (34-21) fell in the other opening round game to No. 13 overall seed Arizona State (42-15), 6-1. The Sun Devils and LIU will play at 2:30 p.m., prior to the UMass-BU contest.

With UMass leading 1-0 in the top of the sixth, Bianca Mejia drove Sara Plourde's 0-1 pitch over the center field fence to lead off the frame, tying the game, 1-1. After a flyout to center, Brynn Lewis pulled the first pitch she saw over the fence in left, giving the Blackbirds a 2-1 lead.

Karina Cervantes led off the LIU seventh inning with an infield single, and after two outs, Emily Kakuska singled up the middle to drive in a run and make it a 3-1 game.

After an intentional walk to Mejia, Mariesha Marker singled up the middle, but Normandin's throw home put Kakuska in a run-down in which she was put out at third to end the inning.

Porter started the bottom of the seventh with two strikeouts, but hit Normandin with a pitch to brng the tying run to the plate. She then induced a groundball to short off the bat of Kyllie Magill to end the game with her 10th assist of the evening.

Plourde (40-7) allowed two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out nine in 5 1/3 innings of work. She was relieved in the sixth inning following Lewis' home run by Bailey Sanders, who allowed one run on three hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings of work.

Blaire Porter (28-7) got the victory for the Blackbirds, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out six.

Normandin broke a scoreless tie with two outs in the bottom of the fifth when she drove the 1-1 pitch into center field bleachers for her fifth home run of the season.

Plourde cruised through the first three innings with some help from her defense. After striking out six batters through two and 2/3 innings and allowing just one base-runner on a walk, Bianca Mejia drove a ball deep to center that looked like it was going to gve the Blackbirds the first run, but Carly Normandin reached high over the fence to make the catch and steal the home run away, keeping the game scoreless.

The Minutewomen left two runners on base in both the second and third innings. With one out in the second, an error by the first baseman and a hit batter put two on, but a strikeout and a groundout to shortstop ended the threat. Whitney Williams led off the third with UMass' first hit, a single up the middle and Normandin followed with a walk, but two strikouts and a groundball got LIU out of the two-on, nobody-out jam.