Consistency is a recurring theme that the Massachusetts softball team knows it must posses in order be a successful team.
And as UMass (9-17, 6-2 Atlantic 10) travels to Chestnut Hill on Tuesday to take on Boston College for the second time this season, the Minutewomen’s performance will depend on just that.
“A lot of (the game) will be predicated on our pitchers being able to get a little bit more consistent in terms of delivering the kind of pitch to set up the batter that we need,” UMass coach Elaine Sortino said. “The whole season depends on that right now. We are at a point in the season where the hitting is showing up pretty consistently. It is a matter of being consistent in terms of hitting spots.”
The Minutewomen have only lost one of their last eight games, which is certainly an improvement after the squad found itself in a standstill, losing 11 straight games at one point in March.
This past weekend was a successful one for UMass, which split a two-game series against A-10 rival Fordham on Friday and Saturday before sweeping La Salle on Sunday to finish off the homestand.
The strong weekend has bumped the squad up to fourth place in the conference, which shows the team is evidently making strides and improving.
Yet as it approaches Tuesday’s game against the Eagles (9-21, 1-8 Atlantic Coast Conference), UMass must keep its offense hot while continuing to improve its level of play defensively.
Sortino emphasized how the quality of play this season has always come back to all aspects of the game — pitching, offense and defense — picking each other up during the course of the season. She noted that the team has always been aware that its success this year would be reliant on its bats, ability to score runs and ability to provide a fortifying defense to support its developing pitchers.
The bats were a powerful force for the Minutewomen this weekend, with Katie Bettencourt, Lindsey Webster and Quianna Diaz-Patterson leading the pack. Bettencourt went 3-for-6 on Sunday and extended her hitting streak to nine games, while Webster and Diaz-Patterson both homered for UMass against La Salle.
Senior Cyndil Matthew also went 3-for-6 for the Minutewomen.
Bettencourt and Matthew are two players that Sortino said work very diligently and therefore “bring a lot of experience to the game.”
“They are producing because they are working hard at it,” Sortino said. “Not just sweating, but really working intelligently hard at it.”
Defense was strong on Friday, with UMass committing no errors. However, it looked as if the Minutewomen were getting back to their old ways with three errors in Saturday’s game and five in the second game on Sunday.
The Eagles suffered a three-game sweep at Florida State this past weekend, but BC’s bats will serve as a threat heading into the contest.
Tory Speer is also someone to watch in the box, hitting .365 with nine home runs so far this season. She also leads the team in RBIs (20).
Megan Cooley (.306 average) and Alana DiMaso (.292) are also threats at the dish for the Eagles.
On the mound, BC has a three-woman rotation with Stephanie Lord, Chelsea Dimon, and Andrea Filler splitting time.
Dimon has the most wins (seven) out of the rotation and has retired 32 batters on strikeouts.
First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Shea Softball Field.
Kaitlin Boyer can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaitlin_Boyer.