Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass softball run-rules Hartford, 8-0

Minutewomen allow only three baserunners

By Noah Bortle, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts softball team rebounded in a big way on Thursday, beating Hartford 8-0 in five innings by virtue of the run-rule.

Following a loss last time out against Boston College, UMass (23-12, 11-0 Atlantic 10) again took on a regional foe, this time in Hartford (9-22, 0-8 American East).

“It was a good team win,” said Melissa Garcia. “After losing yesterday, it feels good to come back today.”

The Minutewomen offense exploded for eight runs in the game, highlighted by a six-run second inning.

The inning started off with a bloop single off the bat of Amy Smith. Later in the inning Riley Gregoire plated a run with a fielder’s choice. An intentional walk to Jena Cozza put two runners on base for Erin Stacevicz who added another run by beating out a throw for an infield single.

“Us being able to put up big runs and big hits takes the pressure off of the pitching staff,” said coach Kristi Stefanoni. “It kind of makes everybody relax when you’re up by that many runs, which in turn makes us all play better.”

Four of the six runs in the second inning came from one swing of the bat. With two outs Kaycee Carbone walked to load the bases for Garcia, who roped a pitch over the right-center wall for a grand slam, stretching UMass’ lead to six runs.

“It felt nice off the bat,” said Garcia of her grand slam. “It felt really good.”

Meg Colleran kept the visiting Hawk bats quiet, surrendering a lone hit over three innings of work, as well as striking out two hitters.

“I felt better today,” said Colleran, “yesterday I started, and I didn’t feel very good at all, but today I felt a lot better.”

Colleran worked out of trouble in the first inning after the leadoff hitter, Lily Spencer, reached on an error, before advancing all the way to third on a passed ball and a fielder’s choice. Colleran escaped the danger, retiring the next two Hartford hitters to keep the game scoreless.

“Any time you can mercy a team it feels pretty good,” added Colleran.

The only other baserunner Colleran saw, Hawk catcher Eliza Bomhardt, reached on a double down the line to start the third inning. Colleran shut the door on any hopes Hartford had of a rally, setting down the next three hitters, keeping the shutout intact.

Looking for insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Garcia doubled home Kaycee Carbone who reached base via a walk, followed by an RBI single by Madison Gimpl to put the run-rule into effect, needing only three more outs to end the contest early.

Quinn Breidenbach continued what has been a successful year out of the bullpen for the Minutewomen by retiring six of the seven batters she faced in relief of Colleran. Her two scoreless frames kept UMass in front by the eight runs needed to end the game in only five innings.

“Megan and Quinn did really well together as a staff today, doing what they needed to do” said Stefanoni. “Big turnaround from yesterday, not just in score-related results but in how we approached the game.”

UMass will resume their conference schedule Saturday at noon for the first of a three-game weekend series on the road against St. Bonaventure.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.

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