Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass softball opens season with up and down play in Houston

By Jamie Cushman

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Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian


The Massachusetts softball team opened its season in Houston this weekend with a 2-3 record, as it displayed power from the plate but inconsistency on the mound.

Sophomore Tara Klee led the team with three home runs over the weekend, including a three-run homer in the fifth inning against Depaul Saturday, which was part of a seven-run inning which powered the Minutewomen to a 9-2 victory.

Seniors Mikayla Panko and Quianna Diaz-Patterson also added two home runs each throughout the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational.

On the mound, the team exhibited up and down play.

Senior Caroline Raymond received the win and surrendered just three earned runs in a 6-4 victory over Stephen F. Austin to open the season, but she also walked seven in an inefficient complete game, a feat that required 160 pitches to accomplish.

Raymond struggled in her other two outings, allowing five runs off 12 hits in a 5-4 loss against Houston and giving up four runs over four innings in a 5-3 loss against Northern Iowa.

UMass’ other pitcher, freshman Meg Colleran, also experienced highs and lows in her debut – and also some bad luck.

In her first career start for UMass, Colleran gave up six hits over six innings without surrendering any earned runs against McNeese State, but still picked up the loss after the Rowdies hit a grand slam following an error in the first inning. The Minutewomen would lose 5-3 in their second game of the year.

But Colleran bounced back, providing UMass its strongest pitching performance of the weekend in her next start. She struck out eight and allowed only two runs in the first victory of her collegiate career in the win over Depaul.

Her other two appearances this weekend came in relief.

Colleran faced only one batter Saturday against Houston when she took over a tied game in the bottom of the seventh with runners on first and second, no outs. Colleran’s second pitch of the at-bat was hit right back up the middle, scoring the runner from second and ending the game 5-4.

Colleran also allowed two inherited runners to score in her appearance Sunday against Northern Iowa. After coming in with runners on first and second, she gave up a home run to Northern Iowa’s Kristin Lock, stretching the team’s lead to 5-0. UMass would lose 5-3.

As one might expect at the beginning of the season, the Minutewomen exhibited some sloppy play in the field. UMass tallied six errors in the first three games of the weekend before settling down and not registering a single error over the final two games.

Taylor Carbone’s error in the first inning against McNeese State was especially costly, as it was followed by the grand slam leading to five unearned runs in the opening frame.

The Minutewomen will be back in action next weekend when the team travels to Charleston, South Carolina to take part in the Cougar Classic. The tournament will feature matchups against Pittsburgh, Charleston, Bowling Green, Appalachian State, and Winthrop.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]

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