CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Trailing 3-1 in the top of the seventh, the Saint Joseph's softball team led off the inning with a pair of singles, but couldn't advance the runners around as Massachusetts held on for the win in Thursday's Atlantic 10 Championship's winner's bracket contest at the D.L. Phillips Complex.
The Hawks (29-15) will face Charlotte on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in a loser's bracket game.
Down to its last three outs, Saint Joseph's fought back as junior Monica Aguilar led off with a single, and moved to second on a single by senior Dana Bieniek. Plourde induced a strikeout for the innings' first out, with SJU sophomore Deanna Stinner dropping down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. With runners in scoring position and two outs, sophomore Shannon Kramer came to the plate for the Hawks. Despite battling with Plourde, Kramer struck out to end the game.
The Minutewomen (29-17) took the game's first lead in the bottom half of the first inning. After retiring the Hawks in order to start the game, Massachusetts got on the board quickly as Kyllie Magill led off the bottom of the inning with a home run to center field off SJU starter Erin Gallagher. Gallagher recovered quickly, retiring the next three batters in order to keep it a 1-0 game
Saint Joseph's didn't trail for long thought as Aguilar led off the top of the second with a solo homer to left field to tie the game at 1-1.
Massachusetts regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a pair of two-out hits to take a 3-1 edge. With runners at first and second, Jordan Storro doubled to center field, scoring Audrey Boutin on the play. Cyndil Matthew followed with a RBI single to center field, scoring Stephanie Mayne to give UMass the two run edge. Matthew would advance to second as SJU held the ball at the end of the play, but the Hawks caught Storro trying to score from third to end the Minutewomen's threat.
For the game, Gallagher allowed three runs, on six hits, while striking out six in the losing effort. Aguilar two of SJU's three hits, while Bieniek added the other hit and a walk.