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May 14, 2017

Weather postpones UMass softball as it sets its sights on weekend series with La Salle

Jong Man Kim/Collegian

As the Massachusetts softball team nears the penultimate regular season series of its 2017, the weather has seemingly played more of a factor than its actual players.

After sweeping Saint Joseph’s in two games last weekend, 1-0 and 3-1 respectively after the third was rained out, the Minutewomen (22-19, 10-3 A-10) were heading into this week with two matchups at home versus Connecticut and Boston College.

Sitting at the top of the A-10 standings, UMass looked to extend its three-game winning streak and gain momentum with A-10 opponents La Salle and Dayton still remaining on the schedule.

But both games, set for Tuesday and Wednesday at 4 p.m., were cancelled due to the inclement, rainy weather that hit the Amherst area and made conditions at Sortino Field unplayable.

According to sophomore outfielder Erin Stacevicz, the midweek matchups, “would have been a good prep for this weekend,” when UMass hosts the Explorers (18-20, 6-9 A-10) for a three-game set.

With all of the rainouts, Stacevicz said the Minutewomen have had more time this week to put toward practicing and perfecting the necessary skills they’ll need as the A-10 tournament approaches.

“It’s just another opportunity to get better with practices and work on what we need to work on and see from previous weekends what we can do to improve,” Stacevicz said.

As the current eight seed in the A-10, every game for La Salle is a must-win as it hopes to get into the postseason tournament that only takes the top six teams of the conference.

“They’re definitely going to come in here fighting,” UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni said. “They still have something to lose in their minds so they’re going to fight to protect it.”

“La Salle isn’t a pushover team and I think if we show up as if they are we’re going to lose—bad,” Stefanoni added. “I’m expecting us to win three games and to come out really hard and attack them the same way we’ve attacked every conference game this season.”

In the circle for the Minutewomen, junior Meg Colleran will look to continue her dominance that has really begun to show itself at the end of the regular season.

Through 22 starts, Colleran has garnered a 14-9 record on the season and pitched an astonishing 17 complete games. Over those starts, the righty has accumulated an earned run average of 2.57.

According to Stacevicz, Colleran’s recent performances have been crucial to the team’s all-around success.

“[Colleran’s] been coming fresh into games looking like she hasn’t pitched any before that,” Stacevicz said. “She’s been a powerhouse for us and her success in the circle has definitely been making us more successful in the lineup.”

Boasting the second-lowest ERA on the team, just behind freshman Candace Denis, who has an ERA of 2.53, Stefanoni believes there’s more success to come for the North Attleboro native.

“She’s been absolutely phenomenal and you can tell by her determination, passion and drive to want to get this done for herself and her teammates,” Stefanoni said. “I still think there’s more in the tank and I think she knows there’s more in the tank too.”

Tentative to changes due to weather, this weekend’s games are set for Saturday at noon and 2 p.m., followed by the culminating matchup on Sunday at 12 p.m.

 

Liam Flaherty can be reached at lpflaherty@umass.edu and followed on Twitter at @_LiamFlaherty.

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