Sunday was a day of firsts for the Massachusetts softball team.
After dropping their Atlantic 10 opener against Dayton (8-13, 2-1 A-10) on Saturday, the Minutewomen (3-16, 1-1 A-10) bounced back with a 14-12 win on Sunday to put an end to an 11-game losing streak, marking their first road and conference win of the season.
Katie Bettencourt led the offensive attack for UMass, providing a hit in each of her five at-bats, including a solo home run and a pair of singles that brought home three runs. Bettencourt also crossed the plate three times herself.
Tiffany Meeks provided a three-run home run in the top of the first that set the tone for the Minutewomen.
In total, UMass scattered 15 hits throughout the game, with six of the starting eight batters getting a hit. Five of those six players contributed multi-hit efforts.
The effort at the plate covered for the Minutewomen pitching staff, which allowed 12 runs in the contest.
Emma Mendoker (1-7) picked up her first win on the season after putting in 3.2 innings of work. She allowed eight runs, but only three were earned.
Following an error that extended the fourth inning, Dayton made a charge back into the game. With a two-run home run already on the board, the Flyers added five after the miscue, bringing the game to within one. At 100 pitches, Mendoker was replaced by Caroline Raymond who claimed her second save of the season after 3.1 innings of work.
The Minutewomen added five more runs following the inning, while Dayton made another comeback late, including three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but it ultimately came up short.
Minutewomen drop A-10 opener
Four Flyers’ long balls proved to be too much for UMass to overcome in its Atlantic 10 opener, as Dayton took the first game on the conference schedule, 9-4.
Raymond pitched all six innings and notched a season-high five strikeouts while hitting a season-worst four batters.
Despite opening the scoring in the first inning, the Minutewomen struggled from the plate with seven of their eight hits coming from their first three batters.
UMass could only watch on defense as a succession of two-run homers from the Flyers’ big hitters led to its defeat.
In the home half of the second inning Dana Trotta launched a home run to put Dayton in front, 2-1.
The following inning, A-10 Player of the Week Kasi Vazquez homered to right center, which scored a pair.
After both teams went 1-2-3 in the fourth inning, Bettencourt hit a two-run home run, but that represented the last challenge from the Minutewomen.
Jordan Jennings answered right back with her fourth home run of the season in the home half of the fifth and then Kathleen Maloof topped the scoring off with her sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth.
Cyndil Matthew gave the Minutewomen plenty of opportunity to score with her four hits, but was unable to record any RBIs.
Meeks’ home run was the only hit by a UMass player outside of the top three in the batting order.
The Minutewomen next host Boston College on Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. at home before welcoming St. Bonaventure for a weekend A-10 clash.
Jeffrey Okerman can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Okerman