Caroline Raymond steps up as UMass softball sweeps Charlotte in doubleheader

By Jesse Mayfield Sheehan

Michael Wood/Collegian File Photo

Strong pitching performances in both games from Caroline Raymond helped the Massachusetts softball team sweep Charlotte on the road in a doubleheader on Sunday.

UMass holds onto early lead to complete sweep

After the Minutewomen (12-17, 8-2 Atlantic 10) took an early two-run lead in the first inning, the pitching took over, and neither team scored for the rest of the game as UMass completed its sweep of the 49ers (16-22, 4-8), 4-2.

Raymond (9-7) pitched a complete game for the Minutewomen, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out three to earn the win.

“The thing about Caroline is she’s getting better out there every time she goes out there, and that’s what you really want to see,” UMass coach Elaine Sortino said. “She’s trying to do a better job distributing different pitches, and it’s going to make a difference as the next month goes by.”

On the other side, Chelsea Lisikatos (6-8) also pitched a complete game for Charlotte, allowing four runs on 11 hits and fanning a pair in the defeat.

Cyndil Matthew and Quianna Diaz-Patterson opened up the top of the first with back-to-back singles, then Katie Bettencourt hit a double to right to drive in Matthew for the first UMass run. Two batters later, Tiffany Meeks hit a single to center that drove in Diaz-Patterson and Bettencourt.

Lindsey Webster rounded out the scoring for the Minutewomen two batters later with a sacrifice fly to center that drove in Taylor Carbone and gave UMass a 4-0 lead.

The 49ers scored two runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame on three singles, a fielding error by Carbone and a wild pitch by Raymond, but Raymond held Charlotte scoreless for the rest of the game.

Minutewomen blow out 49ers in first doubleheader game

The Minutewomen defeated the 49ers in a blowout to open up Sunday’s doubleheader, taking the first game in five innings by a score of 12-0.

Raymond pitched all five innings for her third shutout of the season, allowing four hits and striking out one for the win.

Bettencourt had an explosive game to lead the offense, going 2-for-3 with a home run, three runs scored and five RBIs.

Bettencourt belted a two-run homer to left to get the scoring started in the third inning. But the Minutewomen offense really got going in the fourth with a six-run frame on four hits and two Charlotte errors to take a commanding 8-0 lead.

UMass then continued the offensive assault in the fifth inning, scoring four more runs on five hits before taking the mercy-rule win at the end of the inning.

Katie Watkins (9-13) pitched 4.1 innings for the 49ers, giving up 12 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits and striking out four.

Sortino praised the Minutewomen for stepping up to get two wins on the road.

“I think when you play a doubleheader, particularly away, I think it’s a great challenge,” she said. “I thought we did a great job keeping our eyes on the prize and really taking it one pitch, one inning at a time.”

UMass returns to Amherst on Tuesday for a makeup game against Connecticut that will be the first of a four-game homestand for the team.

“I think we’re up for a very formidable challenge. I think that UConn is obviously a very, very worthy opponent,” Sortino said. “I’ve never known a UConn game to be easy in my lifetime.”

Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan can be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @jgms88.