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May 4, 2017

UMass softball struggles to find offense, falls flat against UConn

(Jong Man Kim/Collegian)

The Massachusetts softball team continued its non-conference struggles on Tuesday, dropping a 7-1 contest to regional rival Connecticut.

Fresh off a strong weekend against Fordham, the Minutewomen (19-19, 8-3 Atlantic 10) failed to capitalize on that momentum, struggling to get anything going against UConn (16-22, 1-7 ACC).

Despite besting the Huskies in the hit column by a 7-6 margin, UMass failed to capitalize on its opportunities. The lone run came from Jena Cozza’s fifth-inning single, but that was all the Minutewomen could muster.

UConn, meanwhile, took advantage of its opportunity to score, needing only six hits to tag UMass pitcher Candace Denis for six runs. Denis was charged with four earned runs in four innings in the circle, striking out two batters and walking three more.

Huskies sophomore Jill Stockley did her part in shutting down the Minutewomen at the plate, throwing six innings for UConn and giving up only one run on six hits.

UMass freshman Quinn Breidenbach got a chance to throw in relief, giving up one run but no hits in two innings of work.

“We didn’t play good softball today and definitely didn’t compete for seven innings,” says UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni. “We are a much better team than what we showed UConn and I’ll expect us to come out better against BC tomorrow. I’m confident that we’ll learn from this and play better softball as this week winds down to our conference games.”

Cozza was the lone bright spot for the Minutewomen, going 2-4 with an RBI in the DH spot. Cozza, having missed the first 29 games of the season due to injury, has made an instant impact in her return, hitting .462 with five RBIs in her nine games back in the lineup.

The loss signaled a continuing struggle in non-conference play for UMass. The Minutewomen are 8-3 in conference play, but just 11-16 when playing outside of the A-10. However, they are 16-5 in their last 21 games, and are still in the midst of their best stretch of the season.

UMass will head to Chestnut Hill to face Boston College Wednesday afternoon, before returning to conference play with a three-game series against Saint Joseph’s this weekend.

Amin Touri can be reached at atouri@umass.edu.

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