Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Jena Cozza, Taylor Carbone lift UMass softball past UConn

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(Cade Belisle/ Daily Collegian)

(Cade Belisle/ Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts softball team won its second consecutive game Tuesday afternoon in a 7-4 victory over Connecticut.

After scoring seven runs in their previous three games combined against St. Bonaventure, the Minutewomen (15-21, 8-5 Atlantic 10) continued their recent success on the offensive end behind a pair of home runs from sophomore shortstop Jena Cozza and another from starting pitcher Taylor Carbone. The two combined for six RBIs.

“She’s becoming quite a threat to the other teams,” UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni said of Cozza. “(She’s) starting to get a bit of a reputation now.”

With the game tied at four in the top of the sixth inning, it was Cozza’s second homer of the game that broke the tie after Erin Stacevicz (three hits) led off the inning with a double down the left field line.

Stacevicz led the Minutewomen with three runs, scoring every time she got on base.

“Jena wouldn’t have had a chance to have the game she had today if Erin hadn’t gotten on base today,” Stefanoni said.

“They are not kids who spend time looking at their statistics,” Stefanoni said about Carbone, Cozza and Stacevicz. “They are focused on finding ways to help the team win games.”

Meg Colleran earned her 13th win of the season, pitching 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief after replacing Carbone in the middle of the third inning. Colleran allowed only two hits while striking out seven.

“I thought (Colleran) did a great job. She was fantastic today,” Stefanoni said.

The Huskies (16-26, 3-7 American Athletic Association) did the brunt of their damage in the third inning as Carbone began to lose her control. After allowing a walk and a hit to start the inning, she threw two straight pass balls that set up a two-RBI single for Jacklyn Dubois. Taylor Townsend scored Dubois on a bunt two batters later.

Carbone helped her cause by gaining an insurance run in the first inning after hitting an RBI single to center field that scored Stacevicz. After UConn tied the game at two in the bottom of the second, UMass broke the tie with Cozza’s first home run to give it a 3-2 lead.

Ashton Wince, who finished 1-for-4, had her lone hit and RBI of the game in the fifth inning with a double to left field that scored right fielder Tara Klee.

However despite the offensive outburst, Stefanoni still believes the Minutewomen still have plently to improve on.

“We’ve got a little better offensively, but there are some small things we need to tweak,” Stefanoni said. “We’re trying to work on our mental approach to help us prepare for our upcoming games.”

The Minutewomen will have a couple days to try and incorporate those tweaks for their next game, which takes place at 4 p.m. at home Thursday against Boston College.

Sam Pollack can be reached at [email protected]

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