Coming off back-to-back wins against Fordham, the Massachusetts softball team looks to continue its six-game win streak against Boston College this afternoon.
The Eagles (9-17, 0-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) started out their season fairly strong, going 2-2 at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tournament and 3-1 at the Stetson University Tournament. After a 2-3 performance at the University of Central Florida Tournament, Boston College’s record went downhill as it has lost 10 of its last 12 games.
Most recently, the Eagles fell to North Carolina State in a three-game series over the weekend. After leading for six innings, BC relief pitcher Allison Gage gave up three late runs as the Wolfpack took a third win Saturday afternoon. Friday’s doubleheader showed similar problems for the Eagles as Gage gave up five runs in the sixth inning of Game 2, while the offense could not find any consistent momentum in the 7-0 loss.
Starting pitcher Nicole D’Argento had a better showing in Game 1 of Friday, where she allowed five hits despite a 3-2 loss. D’Argento is 3-5 for the season with a 2.03 ERA. In 65.2 innings pitched, she has allowed 53 hits and struck out 71 batters.
Gage is 2-4 for the season with a 2.70 ERA. She has allowed 27 runs on 62 hits and batters average .300 against her. Combined, D’Argento and Gage have given up 57 runs this season, compared to UMass pitcher Sara Plourde who has given up 43 runs. Plourde has also struck out 302 batters, compared to 88 combined from D’Argento and Gage.
On offense, senior Renee Ramos has had a strong year at bat, leading her team with a .391 batting average and 13 RBIs. Ramos also boasts a .813 slugging percentage, placing her second in the ACC. She also leads her team in homeruns with seven this season, and has hit a homerun in three of her last four games, something that could pose a challenge to Plourde.
Freshman Maria Pandolfo has also positively contributed to the Eagles with seven runs scored and six RBIs. Pandolfo hit a timely two-run homerun in Game 3 of the weekend to help out her team. The homerun served as her second of the season, improving her slugging percentage to .531.
Brittany Wilkins has helped BC this season and scored a run in Game 1 over the weekend. She has contributed 10 RBIs this season along with two homeruns.
The Minutewomen (21-7, 6-0 Atlantic 10) hold an advantage coming into the game with plenty of momentum spurred from six consecutive wins over George Washington, La Salle and Fordham. The wins put UMass at No.1 in the A-10 and No. 23 in the country, according to the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I Top 25 Poll.
The Maroon and White’s offense also seems to have found consistency at the plate, which it will look to continue with six players boasting a slugging percentage of .500 or better. Carly Normandin leads the Minutewomen with a .441 batting average and .576 slugging percentage, along with hitting her first homerun against La Salle since coming back from a back injury. Sophomore Katie Bettencourt also has a strong .363 batting average and hit her third homerun of the season against Fordham’s No. 1 pitcher, Jen Mineau.
Kyllie Magill and Meghan Carta have had no problem hitting homeruns this season, with four and five respectively. Magill’s slugging percentage is .527, while Carta comes into Tuesday’s game leading UMass in homeruns along with a .581 slugging percentage.
The Minutewomen will return home tomorrow to face Boston University. The Terriers (18-10, 3-0 America East) come into the game undefeated in their conference with a sweep over Stony Brook this past weekend.
Geena Lombardi can be reached at email@example.com.