Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass continue home stand

By Ryan Fleming, Collegian Staff

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P.J. Stanley/Collegian

It seems as if all is right in the world for the Massachusetts softball team.

UMass has won 15 straight games dating back to March 15 and in that span, the Minutewomen are not only hitting for power, but for consistency. And unfortunately for opposing teams, Brandice Balschmiter is truly in midseason form once again.

George Washington has a pretty tough time ahead of them when they travel to Amherst to take on the Minutewomen Friday and Saturday at the UMass Softball Complex.

The unpleasantness for the Colonials (12-25, 3-9 Atlantic 10) starts as soon as they step on the field. Balschmiter, coming off a no-hitter against Providence on Tuesday ‘- the game where she also broke UMass’ all-time wins leader Danielle Henderson’s record ‘- is nearly untouchable.

Wednesday’s game against Boston University was much of the same. The senior only surrendered three hits in a complete game effort where she struck out 11 Terriers and only walked two in UMass’ 3-0 win.

On the offensive half of the game the Minutewomen (25-6, 8-0 A-10) have found their power again and Carly Normandin has continued her hot streak.

Normandin, UMass’ leadoff hitter, leads the Minutewomen in batting average (.429), runs (26), hits (45), doubles (10), total bases (74) and slugging percentage (.705). Essentially, Normandin is the perfect leadoff hitter, getting on base almost 50 percent of the time, which in turn immediately puts pressure onto UMass’ opposing pitchers.

Not only are the Minutewomen reaching base more frequently than their counterparts, they are also hitting home runs at a much higher rate.

Compared to last year’s numbers, the Minutewomen have hit only three fewer long balls than last year’s version of the Minutewomen. Keep in mind that UMass still has 13 games left in the regular season.

And whenever UMass reaches the base paths, they usually aren’t in the same place long.

The Minutewomen have stolen 40 bases this year, already tying last season’s mark. Normandin leads UMass with 11 steals in 12 attempts. Kyllie Magill is second on the team with six steals in seven attempts.

The Colonials have had a tougher go at the plate than UMass has this season. Collectively, the Colonials are hitting .190 as a team with 12 home runs and 66 runs scored this season. GW’s leading hitter, Katie Terrazas, leads the team with a .269 average with three home runs and 15 RBIs.

Despite the Colonials struggles at the plate, their pitching is pretty solid.

Amanda Gabriel leads GW with an ERA of 3.05 while sporting a 7-13 record. The Colonials’ second pitcher, Kara Clauss, holds a 3.63 ERA and a 4-5 record.

If the Colonials want to end UMass’ 44-game conference winning streak, their pitching is going to have to get it done and limit UMass from extra-base hits.

Ryan Fleming can be reached at [email protected]

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