UMass softball wins 3 of 4 games over weekend

By Jesse Mayfield Sheehan

Araz Havan/Collegian

The UMass softball team completed a doubleheader sweep of La Salle on Sunday with a 5-0 win in the second game.

Caroline Raymond (6-7) dominated on the mound for the Minutewomen (9-17, 6-2 Atlantic 10). In her fifth straight start for the team, Raymond pitched her second straight complete game shutout, allowing one hit and striking out six against the Explorers (13-16, 2-8 A-10).

“I thought (Raymond) did an outstanding job moving the ball around,” UMass coach Elaine Sortino said. “She hit a quadrant of the strike zone that she hasn’t really been able to hit consistently every year, and it really set a lot of things up for her.”

The UMass offense started off slow, scoring one run in the first inning on an error by La Salle first baseman Tristan Musho and then being shut out for the next three innings. But the Minutewomen got things going in the fifth inning, scoring four runs on five hits to take a commanding 5-0 lead that would be good enough to win it.

The Minutewomen fielders had their fair share of struggles, committing five errors in the game.

“It was the same thing about not coming to get the ball,” Sortino said. “This is a tough field, ball’s going to take its hops, and you’ve got to keep coming through it. So, we know better, this is our field, we should be able to play it a little bit better than that.”

UMass claims mercy-rule win over La Salle

UMass started out its doubleheader against La Salle strong on both sides, finishing with an 8-0 mercy-rule victory in five innings.

Raymond threw the first shutout of her collegiate career, pitching all five innings, allowing two hits and striking out one. The defense backed her up as it committed zero errors in the game.

Raymond said it was nice to have the pitching be the deciding factor in the game for a change.

“It’s definitely a new feeling,” she said. “(I) decided to bear down a little bit more and just be a little bit more focused, and the defense came up big.”

The scoring started in the second inning, when Lindsey Webster hit a two-run homer to left to put the Minutewomen on the board, and Quianna Diaz-Patterson followed her up in the next inning with a two-run shot to left of her own to give UMass a 4-0 lead.

But the Minutewomen offense really took off in the fifth inning, scoring four runs on four hits. The last run came when Webster hit a hard grounder that took a bad hop past the shortstop for an RBI single, giving UMass an 8-0 lead and the mercy-rule victory.

UMass loses slugfest to Fordham

The Minutewomen saw their five-game overall winning streak and their 20-game home winning streak dating back to 2011 both get snapped in a 17-11 loss to Fordham on Saturday.

Despite being down by as many as nine runs, UMass fought back to get within two of the Rams (23-12, 7-3 A-10) in the sixth inning. However, a three-run home run from Kayla Lombardo capped a four-run seventh inning that extended Fordham’s lead to six and put the game out of reach.

The trouble for the Minutewomen started in the third inning, when the Rams scored eight runs on four hits and three UMass errors. After Elise Fortier reached safely on a throwing error by Teea Rogers, which scored the seventh run of the inning, Rogers was replaced at third by Anna Kelley.

Kelley then hit her first collegiate home run in the fourth inning as part of a four-run rally that brought the Minutewomen within five. But the Rams added three more runs in the top of the fifth with back-to-back homers by Jamie LaBovick and Fortier, giving them a 13-5 lead and threatening UMass with a potential mercy-rule loss.

The Minutewomen struck back, however, scoring three runs of their own to stay in the game, and then another three-run rally in the sixth brought them back within striking distance.

Raymond pitched 22/3 innings, giving up nine runs (five earned) on five hits for the loss. Bridget Lemire pitched in relief and threw 41/3 innings, giving up eight runs, (seven earned) on nine hits.

Sortino said the team fought hard, but too many walks and errors ultimately cost them the win.

“I think we have a lot of resilience. I think it’s too bad that we couldn’t sustain it,” Sortino said. “We would take five steps forward, and then we’d come out on defense and (give up a) leadoff walk. That’s just not what needs to be happening.”

Minutewomen open weekend with win over Fordham

UMass started its weekend off well with a 9-5 win over Fordham on Friday.

Katie Bettencourt and Taylor Carbone propelled the Minutewomen offense, driving in three runs each and going a combined 5-for-7 on the day.

Raymond pitched a complete game, giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits to get the win. The defense stepped up behind her, committing zero errors and turning four double plays on the day.

“There’s nothing that can be denied about playing good, solid, steady defense, and I was very, very pleased with our fielding today,” Sortino said.

UMass had two three-run rallies in the first and second innings to jump out to a quick 6-1 lead. The Rams scored once in the fourth and fifth innings to try to come back, but the Minutewomen scored three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the game out of reach for Fordham.

UMass will next be back in action at Boston College on Tuesday.

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