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

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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