April 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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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