UMass softball struggles in opening weekend
For the first time since 1979, the Massachusetts softball team took the field without Elaine Sortino at the helm, with Kristi Stefanoni now the interim head coach.
Opening their 2014 campaign in Clearwater, Fla., as part of the NFCA Leadoff Classic, the Minutewomen went 1-4 over the weekend, as they were shutout by the Hofstra 8-0 in their final game on Sunday.
Hofstra (4-1) went on an offensive attack, compiling 16 hits and scoring three runs in the first inning, forcing UMass to play catch up early. The Prides’ Tori Rocha went 3-for-4 on the day with four runs batted in, while Maggie Hawkins contributed with a 4-for-4 afternoon and one RBI.
Hofstra added two more runs in the fifth inning off a Rocha single to right field and three more runs in the sixth inning, thanks to a leadoff triple from center fielder Rachael Senatore. Hawkins drove her in two batters later on a single into right. Rocha and infielder Michaela Transue each added an RBI of their own.
Pitcher Morgan Lashley (3-0) picked up the win, in six innings of work, allowing just three hits and striking out three batters on 86 pitches. Caroline Raymond (1-3) took the loss for the Minutewomen, throwing 122 pitches in six innings.
UMass will take a week off before traveling to Louisville, Ky. for the Louisville Tournament, where they will take on Ohio State, Louisville, Ohio University and Illinois State.
Minutewomen upend UConn
After dropping the first two games of a triple-header on Saturday, UMass picked up its first win of the season, outlasting Connecticut 8-7.
The Minutewomen jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and a 2-1 lead after the second inning, but the Huskies responded in the bottom of the third with three runs to take a 4-2 lead. Infielder Valerie Sadowl scored from third base on a throwing error by Tiffany Meeks at first base to tie the game at 2-2. Audrey Grinnell singled to left field and advanced to second on the throw, advancing Jacklyn DuBois to third base after she reached on a fielding error from Tara Klee in right field. Both players scored on a single from catcher Dominique Pitino, who went 1-for-3 on the night with two RBIs.
UMass answered in the top of the fourth inning to take a 6-4 lead. The inning was capped off by a Meeks double into left field that scored Taylor Carbone and Lindsey Webster. After the Huskies rallied for three more runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth, the Minutewomen scored two in the top half of the sixth to retake the lead, one they would not surrender.
It was UMass’ first win under Stefanoni. Raymond pitched three innings in relief for the Minutewomen, allowing just one hit against 13 batters. Lauren Duggan for UConn received the loss.
UMass falls to Rutgers
Rutgers used a three-run fifth inning and a complete game from junior pitcher Alyssa Landrith to shut out the Minutewomen 3-0
The Scarlet Knights’ (4-4) rally began when right fielder Loren Williams reached on an error by Meeks at first base with one out. After stealing second, Williams advanced to third after shortstop Carly Todd grounded out for the second out. Chandler Howard walked and Alexis Durando reached on a dropped third strike, then Williams plated the game’s first run on a passed ball. This was followed up by a Jackie Bates double, her second of the day, this one scoring Howard and Durando.
Landrith (2-2) needed no more help to pick up the victory. She allowed just three hits and struck out 11 in the complete game effort, one shy of her career high. Raymond took the loss for UMass, walking eight batters and striking out five in her seven innings of work.
Charleston routs UMass
Junior Mackenzie Maples had four RBIs, while Lizzy Vaughn and Rebecca Mueller each added two more as Charleston routed the Minutewomen 13-3 in a shortened five-inning game.
The game, which began on Friday night but was suspended in the bottom of the third inning due to rain, resumed on Saturday morning.
Already leading 7-0 thanks to a six-run inning the previous night, the Cougars (4-4) continued their scoring onslaught when the game resumed. Kelsey Hodgson walked to load the bases and Mueller beat out an infield single to up Charleston’s lead to 8-0. After a fielding error and a wild pitch pushed the Cougars’ lead to 10-0, Maples doubled to right-center field, bringing home another pair of runs.
UMass (0-2) generated some offense in the fourth and fifth innings, coming from a Lindsey Zenk RBI single in the fourth and RBI singles from Meeks and Jena Cozza in the fifth. But that would be all for the Minutewomen, as the 10-run rule would be induced as Charleston already had a 13-3 advantage.
Samantha Martin (2-0) picked up the win as she allowed two hit and struck out four in three innings. Tara Klee (0-1) received the loss for UMass, allowing eight runs on seven hits in two innings. Freshman Dakota Smith-Porter made her collegiate debut for the Minutewomen, allowing four hits and an earned run in two innings of work.
UMass opens season with loss to DePaul
A pinch-hit two-run home run off the bat of DePaul freshman Nicole Pihl proved to be the difference in the season opener for UMass, as it dropped a 4-2 decision to the Blue Demons on Friday night.
DePaul (8-3) struck first in the first inning after Raymond surrendered back-to-back bases-loaded walks, giving the Blue Demons an early 2-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Minutewomen answered back with a run of their own. Junior Quianna Diaz-Patterson led off the inning by reaching base after a fielding error by Morgan Maize at third base. After Diaz-Patterson stole second, she advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Staci Bonezek and later scored when Cote Clark grounded out to shortshop.
The next three-and-a-half innings went by quietly until the bottom of the fifth inning when UMass scored another run, tying the game. Pinch-running for Anna Kelley, Jena Cozza scored on a RBI single by Diaz-Patterson to tie the game 2-2.
Raymond retired the first two batters in the six inning quickly before Maize singled to shortstop. Pinch-hitting for Gena Lenti, Pihl hit a two-run home run to left field, her first career home run, to give DePaul a 4-2 lead.
The score would hold up through the last two innings as Kirsten Verdun registered a two-inning save, striking out four of the six batters she faced.
Hannah Penna (2-1) picked up the win, walking one and striking out eight in five inning pitched. Despite the complete game effort, Raymond was hit with the loss. She gave up six hits and walked five while striking out two.
Marc Jean-Louis can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @marc_jean93.