Scrolling Headlines:

Report: UMass football’s Todd Stafford arrested Saturday morning in Stamford, Connecticut -

Monday, July 20, 2015

UMass names Molly O’Mara newly-created associate director of athletics for communications and PR -

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baker approves state budget, UMass to receive $5.25 million less than legislature’s proposed figure -

Friday, July 17, 2015

UMass bathroom policy to provide comfort, safety for transgender and non-gender conforming students -

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long-time UMass professor Normand Berlin, 83, dies -

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

UMass professor and poet James Tate dies at 71 -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

State legislators propose budget, UMass could receive almost $532 million -

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cause of death determined for UMass student Chloe Malast -

Monday, July 6, 2015

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ryan Bamford uses online Q&A session to discuss UMass football conference search, renovation plans, cost of attendance -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opening statements delivered, first witnesses called in second trial for alleged 2012 gang rape at UMass -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Minutewomen begin A-10 schedule with double header with colonials

Most softball coaches would be thrilled to see their team come out of a weekend with a 4-3 record.

Massachusetts coach Elaine Sortino is not one of them.

Sortino extended practice by over half an hour on Wednesday to focus primarily on hitting after getting blanked by Texas A&M and Long Beach State over the weekend. The last time a team shut UMass out was against then-No. 18 Louisiana State, who took a 14-0 win during the National Fastpitch Collegiate Association Leadoff Classic on Feb. 28.

Although the offense struggled at times over the weekend, Sortino said it wasn’t the only reason why the Minutewomen (15-7) haven’t performed as well as she would’ve hoped.

“It’s been something different every five minutes,” Sortino said. “That means that nothing’s really bad, which is fine for me… Our expectations are very, very high so I think it’s good that we’re not satisfied.”

However, her team remains optimistic as it begins its Atlantic 10 schedule with a doubleheader on Sunday against George Washington. In years past, UMass typically plays its best softball during its conference schedule.

The Minutewomen have two A-10 losses in the past three years combined (both in 2009). Sortino hopes that track record can continue this season starting with a double-header against the Colonials.

GW (4-13, 1-1 A-10) is coming off a recent loss to Towson at home after splitting its first A-10 series against La Salle.

Despite the early season struggles, Sortino refuses to take the Colonials lightly when they have played their last three games at home and will have preparation against Rhode Island on Friday and Saturday before the Maroon and White come to town.

Sortino also knows that her team had a difficult time against a GW team that also had a losing record in 2009. It took the Minutewomen eight innings before they defeated the Colonials, 3-2, on April 17.

“We know what they were a year ago,” Sortino said referring to their ability to surprise teams. “It’s always tougher away than it is at home.”

While Sortino has been frustrated with her team’s output so far, pitching continues to be one of her team’s biggest strengths.

The Minutewomen have shutout five opponents this season and have a team ERA of 2.03.

Sophomore Sara Plourde has already shown some of her talent early in the season, as she leads the NCAA in strikeouts (236), but Sortino wants to see more out of senior Bailey Sanders, who currently has an 8.40 ERA.

Last season, the Minutewomen rode alumnus Brandice Balschmiter’s pitching throughout the season. While Plourde is proving to be capable of doing the same, Sortino would rather share the responsibility between her two pitchers.

“I think it’s critical that we get innings and wins and all kinds of things out of Bailey, so I think the 1-2 punch is kind of what you need,” Sortino said.

UMass should see its pitching at its strongest on Sunday as the Colonials have a team batting average of .202 and no hitters above .300.

If their pitching is any indication for what the beginning of the A-10 schedule might look like for UMass, Sortino should not expect the weekend to resemble any sort of pitcher’s duel. GW’s pitching staff has a combined 5.32 ERA while Kara Clauss (5.76 ERA) leads her team with a 3-11 record.

The doubleheader will be the last time the Minutewomen are away from the UMass Softball Complex before their home opener, as they will play a doubleheader against Dartmouth in Amherst on Tuesday.

Adam Miller can be reached at amiller@dailycollegian.com.

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