Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Big bats generating offense for the Minutewomen

Coming into Friday’s game, the Massachusetts’ softball team’s balanced offense will face off against two of the University of Connecticut’s strongest hitters.

Since returning from the San Diego Classic II at the end of March, the Minutewomen (26-7, 8-0 Atlantic 10) have batted in an average of 7.5 runs per game. The Maroon and White also boasts four batters batting over .300, along with six players having a slugging percentage of .500 or more.

In UMass’ most recent game against Boston University, six out of seven runs scored came from home runs. First baseman Sarah Reeves had two solo home runs on the day to help out her team. Michelle Libby’s home run brought in three runs for the Minutewomen, along with a Meghan Carta solo home run.

Carta, Reeves and Libby also lead the Minutewomen in home runs, with six a piece. Despite hitting one home run for the season, Carly Normandin leads UMass with a .400 batting average, and her grand slam against La Salle increased her slugging percentage to .507.

Kyllie Magill and Katie Bettencourt are also not far behind with five home runs for the season. The two sophomores come into the UConn game with a .524 and .602 slugging percentage. Bettencourt is second to Normandin with a batting average of .366, but leads the Minutewomen in slugging percentage.

As UMass faces the Huskies (18-19, 4-5 Big East) for the first time this season, it will compete against a team similar to itself in terms of hitting and numerous offensive threats, mainly in the form of Julianne Towers and Amy DeLuca.

The junior and sophomore have led UConn all year offensively and remain close in numbers. Towers is currently leading her team with a .357 batting average and .683 slugging percentage, helped out by nine home runs for the season. DeLuca is not far behind, with a .355 batting average and .495 slugging percentage. She also comes into the game with three home runs. Marissa Guches has also helped out with home runs for the Huskies with four on the season.

Home runs are not the only category the pair lead in. They have 45 of UConn’s 121 runs batted in on the season, along with a combined 49 runs scored. Towers also leads in the RBI category with 25 for the season compared to DeLuca’s 19.

Brittany Duclos will face the Minutewomen after registering five RBIs and three runs scored in her most recent game against Dartmouth. The freshman has proved herself so far this season with a .275 batting average and .383 slugging percentage. She has hit three home runs along with 14 RBIs for the season.

Rounding out the strong batters that UMass pitcher Sara Plourde will meet is Justyne Roy. The senior comes in batting .283 and has s slugging percentage of .374, along with 16 RBIs.

Towers went 4-for-5 against Dartmouth with two singles, a triple and a home run, while DeLuca scored a run and drove in a run by a fielder’s choice in that same game.

Plourde faced a power hitter similar to Towers in her most recent game against BU in the form of April Setterlund. After going 1-for-3 in their first meeting, Setterlund came through for the Terrier’s in Game 2 with a grand slam.

Plourde gave up an uncharacteristic eight hits and five runs scored against the strong-hitting BU. Despite struggling at some points in the game, UMass coach Elaine Sortino felt as though going up against strong batters only helps Plourde’s alternate pitches, something she will look to use against UConn.

Geena Lombardi can be reached at [email protected].

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