ST. LOUIS - Massachusetts pitcher Sara Plourde tossed two shutouts Sunday afternoon as the Minutewomen downed Saint Louis 5-0 and 8-0 (five innings) in an Atlantic 10 Conference doubleheader at the Billiken Sports Center.
Saint Louis fell to 14-18 overall and 1-3 in the A-10, while UMass improved to 13-10, 2-0.
UMass seized a 1-0 lead in the second inning of game one after Lindsey Webster started the inning with a single down the left-field line. She moved to second on Kyllie Magill's sacrifice bunt and scored on a Teea Rogers single to center field.
The Minutewomen added three runs in the third. The frame began with Jordan Storro reaching on a two-base error. A wild pitch allowed pinch runner Mikayla Panko to move to third before Cyndil Matthew tallied an infield single. Matthew swiped second, and both runners scored on Quianna Diaz-Patterson's two-run triple to right center. Diaz-Patterson crossed on Webster's single to center field.
In the fourth, Plourde sent Hannah Huebbe's first offering over the fence in center field to give herself a 5-0 cushion.
SLU's best scoring opportunity occurred in the bottom of the fourth. Alyson Brand drew a one-out walk, Laura Bohning was hit by a pitch and Kelly Flanagan singled to load the bases. But the Bills were unable to break through as Plourde retired the next two batters.
Huebbe and the Billikens worked out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fifth. Katie Bettencourt reached on a one-out double and went to third on a wild pitch. Huebbe walked the ensuing batter and the Minutewomen loaded the bases on Magill's infield single. Rogers grounded back to Huebbe, who threw home to Brand to start a 1-2-3 double play.
Huebbe (8-7) took the loss for SLU despite recording nine strikeouts. She allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits and just one walk. Flanagan tallied the Billikens' lone hit of the contest as Plourde fanned 11 and walked five.
In game two, Matthew's leadoff walk set up the Minutewomen's first run. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, Matthew scored on Bettencourt's double to left center for a 1-0 edge. Diaz-Patterson's solo home run in third put UMass on top 2-0.
Plourde's second home run of the day made it 4-0 in the fourth inning. Her blast to left field also scored Magill, who had reached on a leadoff walk. Billiken starter Julian Austin (3-6) struck out the next batter before Tiffany Meeks reached on an infield single. A Billiken error allowed Matthew to reach base while Meeks raced to third on the play. Matthew stole second just before Diaz-Patterson smashed a home run to right field, extending UMass' lead to 7-0.
A leadoff walk for the Minutewomen led to the decisive eighth run in the fifth. After Webster drew a walk, courtesy runner Christine Della Vecchia was sacrificed to second base and scored on Rogers' single down the left-field line.
Jessica Buschjost's leadoff single in the bottom of the first and Erin Harcar's bunt single in the fifth were the only hits allowed by Plourde (12-8), who struck out nine and walked two.The Billikens are back in action Saturday, March 31, in an A-10 doubleheader at St. Bonaventure.