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May 22, 2016

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May 21, 2016

DaLuz: Boston Celtics stuck trudging in the mud -

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Despite tallying double-digit hits, UMass baseball falls to Fairfield Tuesday afternoon -

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May 16, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse advances to quarterfinal of NCAA tournament -

May 16, 2016

UMass baseball outlasts Rhode Island in series finale behind strong pitching of Brandon Walsh -

May 15, 2016

Eileen McDonald’s overtime goal advances UMass women’s lacrosse in NCAA tournament -

May 14, 2016

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May 14, 2016

UMass baseball falls in first-ever Division I matchup with UMass Lowell 7-3 -

May 11, 2016

UMass baseball gets shut out in nonconference matchup with UConn -

May 10, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Richmond, wins eighth straight Atlantic 10 championship -

May 9, 2016

UMass baseball salvages last game of weekend series with Richmond behind strong eighth inning -

May 9, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse beats St. Joe’s, advance to Atlantic 10 championship game -

May 7, 2016

Lack of offense plagues UMass baseball in game two of doubleheader with Fordham -

May 1, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Davidson 12-5 on Senior Day -

May 1, 2016

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May 1, 2016

Former UMass wide receiver Tajae Sharpe selected in fifth round of 2016 NFL Draft -

April 30, 2016

Ryan Moloney pitches seven scoreless innings as UMass baseball takes series opener from Fordham -

April 30, 2016

Plourde becomes 3rd Minutewoman to record 1,000 strikeouts

Maria Uminski/Collegian

With no outs and an 0-2 count on Christina Valdes in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s matchup with Boston University, Sara Plourde stared deep into the catcher’s mitt of Meghan Carta, aiming to place her name in the Massachusetts softball history books.

Plourde wound up and fired a fastball that blazed past the swinging bat of Valdes and into the glove of Carta for strike three. With the strikeout, she became the third pitcher in Minutewomen history to eclipse 1,000 strikeouts for a career, and first to do it before her senior season.

“I think it’s outstanding,” said UMass coach Elaine Sortino. “For her to be, with a lot of season left and only in her junior year, I just think it’s an outstanding accomplishment. When you consider the fact that, as a freshman, she threw very few games, that says a lot for her sophomore and junior year outputs. We’re very fortunate to have her.”

Coming into the game, the junior right-hander needed 11 strikeouts to achieve the feat. After striking out the side in her first two innings of work, it appeared she was well on her way to passing the mark.

It wasn’t until the sixth inning, however, until she recorded the strikeout as she sent away Valdes in three pitches to begin the frame. All of her teammates, well aware of their ace’s triumph, crowded around her in celebration as the game was momentarily stopped to recognize the accomplishment. However, Plourde, as she admits, didn’t appear to get the memo.

“I had no idea,” said Plourde. “When I saw the catcher and everyone else running back over to me, I was like, ‘Why are you running at me?’”

Plourde is behind just Brandice Balschmiter and Danielle Henderson on the all-time strikeouts list, and it seems that she will be well on her way to passing those two as the sun sets on her senior season next year.

After her performance today, Plourde owns 1,003 strikeouts for her career, 215 shy of Balschmiter’s 1,218 and 345 short of Henderson’s 1,348. Barring any injuries and unforeseen circumstances, the Bristol, Conn. native is on pace to passing Henderson and then some.

“It feels pretty good,” said Plourde of being mentioned among the UMass greats. “Danielle’s been to the Olympics and Brandice has been on the USA team, and knowing that I’m doing something that they have done, I mean being half the pitcher that they are is amazing.”

It seems that Plourde has come full-circle since sustaining an injury in the postseason last year against this very BU squad.

After suffering a hip injury that limited her abilities, she was rocked by the Terriers, as she gave up four runs in the first inning. The Minutewomen ultimately lost, 10-4, in a season-ending loss that capped a sensational year by Plourde in which she threw a nation-best 556 strikeouts and racked up 40 wins.

Fast forward to this spring, and the All-American is rebounding very well, compiling a 21-11 record, 380 strikeouts and a career-best 1.23 ERA.

“I definitely feel like I’m improving,” said Plourde. “Things are starting to click, things are falling together. We’re working at it every day to find new things out. It’s working. It’s going the right way.”

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at shewitt@student.umass.edu.

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