December 20, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Minutewomen face Hawks for 3rd time in A-10 tournament

Jessica Serio swings at a pitch during the Minutewomen's double-header against Dayton on May 2. UMass will face Saint Joseph's in Round 2 of the Atlantic 10 tournament on Thursday. (Jeff Bernstein/Collegian)

The Massachusetts softball team couldn’t have asked for a better draw than playing a team it just beat in a double-header earlier this week, especially one it shut-out in both games.

UMass (38-7-1, 17-0-1 Atlantic 10) will play Saint Joseph’s for the third time this week in the Second Round of the A-10 tournament. The Minutewomen tallied a combined 13 runs against the Hawks (28-16, 12-7 A-10) while the defense kept them scoreless throughout both games.

The Maroon and White won Game 1, 5-0, by getting to SJU pitcher Erin Gallagher early, scoring three runs in the first inning. Defensively, UMass pitcher Sara Plourde held the Hawks to two hits and recorded 13 strikeouts to give her 501 strikeouts on the season.

The win clinched the top seed for the Minutewomen and allowed senior Bailey Sanders to get her first start since March 7. UMass scored eight runs to end the game after five innings as Sanders also pitched a two-hitter while throwing six strikeouts.

Both teams will meet again after the Hawks defeated Saint Louis, 5-2, in 11 innings. The Billikens are the only team that kept the Minutewomen from sweeping the A-10 schedule by forcing a tie at three apiece before inclement weather called off an eight-inning affair.

Despite its success against UMass, it couldn’t overcome SJU’s extra-inning rally.

With the game tied at two, the Hawks’ catcher Brooke Darreff reached on a fielding error by SLU third baseman Rachel Falletto.

The next batter, Monica Aguilar, drew a walk before advancing on a sacrifice bunt that put runners on second and third base. Freshman Deanna Stinner scored both runners on a single down the right field line.

She eventually moved to second after a throwing error and then scored the third run after sophomore Alaina Loguidice hit a two-out single.

Gallagher finished the game with a career-high 18 strikeouts.

The Hawks will need a similar type of performance from Gallagher if they hope to keep the Minutewomen from continuing their unbeaten streak in the conference.

The only time UMass didn’t win the A-10 Championship since 1995 was in 2004 when it lost to SJU. However, the Minutewomen haven’t gone undefeated in the A-10 since 1996, a year that they won the A-10 tournament.

If the Hawks hope to have some level of success against UMass, it will have to be more patient at the plate and look to draw out Plourde’s pitch counts. When the sophomore pitcher isn’t throwing strikes regularly, she tends to give up more hits, which will put more pressure on the offense to drive in runs.

They also need to prevent the Minutewomen from having a strong first inning. UMass tends to score most of its runs in the first inning, which brings the momentum over early in the game.

Although SJU did not fare well against the Minutewomen a few days ago, its win over a team that nearly beat UMass should give it plenty of confidence going into the game.

The winner will place either Fordham or Charlotte on Friday.

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

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