UMass softball wins 7th straight game with 8-0 mercy-rule win over Hartford

By Joey Saade

Cade Belisle/Collegian

The Massachusetts softball team continued its winning ways on Thursday, picking up its season-high seventh straight victory with an 8-0 mercy-rule home win over Hartford in five innings.

The Minutewomen (14-17) offense took over the game in the fourth inning with seven runs on five hits. Three of those runs came with two outs on a three-run home run by Tiffany Meeks, which gave UMass an eight-run cushion.

Teea Rogers went 2-for-2 with two RBI and one run scored to lead the Minutewomen’s offense. Rogers, Lindsey Webster and Katie Bettencourt each registered RBI doubles in the fourth inning.

“Outstanding, outstanding,” UMass coach Elaine Sortino said of her team’s offense. “Not only did we show up with hits, but I thought we had great at-bats every inning. We went deep into the count, extended our opportunities and did a real good job.”

Caroline Raymond (11-7) shut down the Hawks’ (15-24) offense, giving up five hits with two strikeouts, earning her second complete-game shutout in her last three games. Raymond got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the fifth inning to earn the mercy-rule victory.

While Raymond’s efforts on the mound secured her seventh consecutive victory, Sortino wasn’t too impressed with her performance.

“It was an average game for her,” Sortino said. “I thought the batters really challenged her when she made some mistakes. When she made mistakes, they made her pay.”

Even after getting out of two pressure-packed bases-loaded situations, Sortino wants Raymond and her team to stay humbled and prevent those sticky situations in the first place.

“I would personally not like to be in those situations that we put ourselves in,” Sortino said. “That’s something we have to get better at. That’s also something she knows and she’s working on.”

One of the big question marks entering the game for the Minutewomen was their execution defensively. UMass came into Thursday’s matchup leading the conference in errors (72) as well as owning the conference’s worst fielding percentage (.918).

Coming off a four-error showing against Connecticut on Tuesday, the Minutewomen’s defense took care of business against the Hawks, committing zero errors while coming up with some big plays.

“I thought we played the ball very, very well,” Sortino said. “We had to make the routine plays, and we made them all.”

UMass hosts George Washington in a doubleheader on Sunday to wrap up its four-game homestand before it hits the road for eight consecutive road games.
Sortino likes the direction her team is heading in and hopes it can continue to click on all cylinders, especially on defense.

“We’re doing a good job, but that’s what we have to do to stay in the game,” she said. “We have to have sound and good fundamental defense.”

First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday at Sortino Field.

Joey Saade can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @Jsaade1225.