December 19, 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 advance with win over St. Joe's

Senior Michelle Libby makes a throw during a game earlier this year. The Minutewomen beat Saint Joseph's and will play Fordham on Friday. (Jeff Bernstein/Collegian)

The first postseason game of the year is nothing new for Massachusetts softball coach Elaine Sortino. But for a team as young as the Minutewomen, she knew the first game was going to cause some nervousness.

Regardless, sophomore Sara Plourde kept Saint Joseph’s bats cool with 16 strikeouts in a seven-inning shutout while senior Sarah Reeves, who is no stranger to the Atlantic 10 tournament, hit two home runs in a 3-0 victory over the Hawks (28-17).

Her first came in the third inning on the first pitch. The ball went into left field and gave UMass a 2-0 lead.

She homered again in the sixth inning again to left field, but closer to the foul pole on a 1-2 count. Reeves finished the game with 10 home runs on the season.

“I was just trying to stay aggressive at the plate,” Reeves said. “That’s what we’ve been doing all season, every one of us throughout the lineup, and it paid off today.”

Sortino said she was glad that one of her team leaders could step up and show her leadership offensively. The last time Reeves homered twice was in the Maroon and White’s 7-5 victory over Boston University on April 13.

“We call her chief because she’s in charge of everything and she kind of barks the orders all-around and everyone listens to her so it’s nice to have her lead the way,” Sortino said.

While Sortino believed the extra run support helped, she believes the play that gave the Minutewomen (39-7-1), the edge the rest of the game came in the second inning.

Freshman Christine Della Vecchia came in as a pinch-runner following a walk to senior Jessica Serio setting up second baseman Kyllie Magill with a runner on first base.

Magill hit a double to right center to advance Della Vecchia, who came in late on an SJU fielder trying to make a play at home, but the freshman slid around the back of the plate and reached base with her hands, avoiding contact from catcher Brooke Darreff.

“It was a great slide,” Sortino said. “That’s one of her fortes. I mean she’s a really fast base-runner and I think over the years, she’s really going to be tearing it up on the bases. I think she’s going to be able to steal a lot.”

Hawks pitcher Taryn Ashway finished the game giving up six hits and three strikeouts in the loss.

UMass plays again on Friday against Fordham at noon. The winner will automatically qualify for the Atlantic 10 Championship while the loser faces either Charlotte or St. Joe’s.

The Minutewomen faced the Rams in a double-header on April 3 and won both games. However, UMass should not expect them to go away quietly, especially with one of the nation’s top pitchers in Jen Mineau. The sophomore has a 30-5 record with a 0.69 earned run average and 436 strikeouts.

She recently became a Top 10 Finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award and rivals Plourde as one of the top pitchers in the nation.

In Fordham’s first game against Charlotte, Mineau threw a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts in defeating the 49ers, 1-0. The last time the Rams lost was their meeting with the Minutewomen in the Bronx.

Regardless of what happens, the two teams could meet again in the Championship if the losing team wins its next game.

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


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