March 5, 2015

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Minutewomen look to continue their winning ways against Boston University

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts softball team looks to extend its winning streak to three games as it travels east to take on Boston University in the state’s capital on Tuesday at 4 p.m. With only one loss in their last nine games, the Minutewomen (10-15, 4-2 Atlantic 10) look to continue their hot streak against the Terriers.

The play of Bridget Lemire has sparked the Minutewomen as of late, batting .636 in her last three games including seven hits in her last 11 at bats.

Head coach Kristi Stefanoni emphasized how important Lemire’s play has been and how much she has contributed to the team.

“To have another hitter in the lineup hitting over .300 is only going to help our run production. I’m really proud of her… her goal since arriving at UMass has been to be one of the big hitters in our lineup. She was doing that pretty consistently early on in the season, and now she has been doing it a lot more consistently,” said Stefanoni.

However, Lemire has not been the only player who has been playing well for the Minutewomen. The team will look to junior pitcher Caroline Raymond who has been a dominant force on the mound this season.

“Caroline is a captain and a leader…for her to be able to come out and shut offenses down… is great for the team. To have someone like Caroline Raymond on right now is very good,” noted Stefanoni.

Raymond has performed well in her last four games. She has struck out 15 batters and has limited opponents to only 11 hits during that span.

The Terriers (20-18, 5-4 Patriot League) are strong offensively and boast five players with batting averages over .300. Freshman Brittany Younan is BU’s most lethal player as she leads the team in batting average and runs scored. However, Younan is most dangerous aspect of her game has been on the base paths. She has not been thrown out when stealing this season.

Stefanoni knows that the matchup against the Terriers will be a challenge for the Minutewomen.

“(Terrior Coach Kathryn Gleason) is very tough. She is aggressive and I know that whatever team she has she will coach them to the best of her and their ability. I expect a really tough BU team to come out against us tomorrow. It will be really great competition for us going into a tough week of conference play.”

However, the recent play of the Minutewomen has put them in a position to come out competitively against the Terriers. Stefanoni attributed the team’s current success to a mentality of seriousness combined with a desire to have fun.

“Their spirits are high. I think that they are also on a mission right now. We tend not to talk too much about the past. I’m all about moving forward and keeping our eyes on the prize. Obviously, they’re having fun and enjoying each other and the game.”

Against the Terriers, Stefanoni emphasized that she will continue to tell her team the same advice that she believes has been a factor behind their strong play.

“You have fun when you play your best, and you play your best when you have fun.”

            Matthew Zackman can be reached at mzackman@umass.edu.

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