Tigers Cruise to Two Victories in Fall Tournament
Oct. 4, 2008
For Immediate Release
MEMPHIS - The University of Memphis softball team swept both games in its fall exhibition tournament on Saturday, beating Northwest Mississippi Community College, 5-0, and Holmes Community College, 9-1 in five innings.
The Tiger pitching staff combined to hold their opponents to one unearned run in the doubleheader. Sophomore Maddie McKinley and freshman Lelani Bernardino led the team with three hits and both finished with two RBI. Senior Leila Dolfo led Memphis with three RBI and three runs scored.
"All in all, I was really pleased with our performance today," said Memphis head coach Windy Thees. "I'm glad we played competition because we still have a long way to go. We still have so much to work on, but this was a solid start."
The fall tournament provided the first opportunity to watch the Memphis newcomers in action. Freshmen Jessica Phillips, Kamri Chester, Nikki Moreno, Alyssa Palmieri and Bernardino all saw action in the doubleheader.
"We were really pleased with the newcomers we were able to see today," Thees said. "We've got a lot of talent in the freshman class. I'm really excited.
"I'm proud of our sophomore class and the difference from their freshman year; just their attitude on the field. And the seniors know exactly what they wanted to happen today."
Sophomore Kimber Bossom and senior Lyndsey Sterling combined for the shutout in the opening game against Northwest. Bossom pitched out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam in the first inning and finished with three strikeouts in four innings. Sterling pitched the final three innings for the save, allowing no hits and striking out three.
In game two against Holmes, sophomore Janelle Valle pitched a complete game one-hitter with five strikeouts in five innings. Valle struck out the side in the fifth inning and ended the game retiring seven in a row.
"Our pitching staff did a fabulous job, and both catchers did a great job back there," Thees said. "The pitchers and catchers probably got my gold stars today. Even when they got into trouble, they pitched out of it. We gave up no earned in the doubleheader. If we can do that in the spring, we're going to win a lot of games."
Against Northwest, Memphis scored two runs in the first inning with the first run coming on a RBI triple by McKinley to score Dolfo. McKinley then scored from third on a double steal with sophomore Heather Mott. Memphis had five stolen bases in the game.
The Tigers scored two unearned runs in the second inning. Chester hit a one-out single up the middle and scored from first on an error on a ball hit by senior Brittany Gooch. Gooch scored the second run in the inning from third base on a single by Bernardino.
The U of M scored its final run in the game on a solo shot by sophomore Kailey Kassner to lead of the sixth inning.
Against Holmes, Memphis scored three runs in the first inning. Bernardino led off the game with a single to left field and stole second. Senior Leandra Hines then reached on a fielding error off a sacrifice bunt to put runners at the corners. A single by Dolfo scored Bernardino and Hines reached home plate on the play after a throwing error. McKinley then knocked in Dolfo on a single to centerfield.
The Tigers put up a five spot in the fourth inning. Palmieri led off the inning with a walk and scored on a double to left center by sophomore Kim Sirman. Bernardino then knocked in Sirman on a single through the right side followed by a two-run homer by Dolfo to left field. McKinley singled through the left side and scored the final run of the inning a double by Phillips.
Bernardino scored the walk-off winning run in the bottom of the fifth inning after reaching on a fielder's choice and advancing to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Hines hit a bunt single in front of home plate and a throwing error by the catcher allowed Bernardino to come around and score.
The Tigers have four remaining weeks of fall team workouts in preparation for the 2009 season that begins in a tournament hosted by South Alabama in Mobile, Ala., on February 6.