Scrolling Headlines:

UMass football selected to finish fourth in MAC East preseason poll -

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Legislature overrides Baker’s UMass budget cut -

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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

UMass softball season gets underway at FAU Kick-Off Classic

The Massachusetts softball team’s 2013 season is set to begin this weekend with a five-game tournament slate at the annual FAU Kick-Off Classic, and the Minutewomen are looking to have another great year after winning their 23rd Atlantic 10 Championship last year.

Maria Uminski/Collegian

More than 80 percent of UMass’ roster will be returning this year, including All-American left fielder Cyndil Matthew, who last year ranked 37th in the country in batting average, seventh in steals and triples and 20th in runs scored.

Matthew will be joined in the outfield by co-captains Katie Bettencourt and Christine Della Vecchia. Minutewomen coach Elaine Sortino, who is entering her 34th season with the team and for whom the UMass Softball Complex was re-named this past October, said the team could have one of the best outfields in the country this season.

Although many players will be returning from last year, the Minutewomen will be missing All-American pitcher Sara Plourde, who last year started in all but five of the team’s games and finished with a 36-1 record, a 1.77 ERA and 351 strikeouts before graduating and being drafted by the Carolina Diamonds of National Pro Fastpitch.

This year, UMass’ rotation will consist of Lindsey Webster, who pitched in one game last year, allowing three runs in five and two-thirds innings; Bridget Lemire, who started in four games last year and finished with a 1-2 record and a 7.09 ERA; Caroline Raymond, who did not play last year due to injury; and Emma Mendoker, a transfer student from East Carolina who was red-shirted as a freshman last year.

Sortino said the transition could be tough for the pitchers, but she believes they will rise to the challenge.

“It might be a little rough going at the beginning, but all four of them work very hard,” she  said. “They know the task at hand. They know opponents are going to be tough, especially at the (early) part of the season. So, it is what it is and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Along with Mendoker, there will be three other newcomers to the team. Infielder Whitney Cooper will be red-shirted this season due to a torn ACL. Taylor Carbone is another infielder that Sortino said has the potential to bring some power to the plate and fast hands to the infield. Rounding out the incoming freshman is Olivia Godin, a catcher who will be competing with Samantha Gray for the starting spot after the graduation of last year’s starting catcher Stephanie Mayne.

Sortino said that one of the team’s greatest strengths is the players’ tenacity and their work ethic.

“I’ve coached a long time here, and you have a sense of the work ethic of a team, and the sense of this team’s work ethic is extraordinary,” she said. “This team, wall-to-wall, brings a tremendous work ethic and a sense of blue collar UMass softball pride.”

The Minutewomen will begin the season at the Kick-Off Classic in Boca Raton, Fla., with a double-header against LIU Brooklyn and Toledo on Friday. Sortino said the first games will be a good opportunity to see where the team is at right now.

“I think we’re going to get a great assessment on the first day of what our strengths and weaknesses are, and I think this team is really ready to get out and compete,” she said. “They’ve been working very hard the last five or six weeks, and I think it’s time to play. I think it’s going to do us good to get out and see who we are and what we can do.”

Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan can be reached at jmayfiel@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter at @jgms88.

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