Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass softball set for rematch with Boston College

Minutewomen undefeated at Sortino Field

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By Noah Bortle, Collegian Staff

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Revenge will be on the mind of the Massachusetts softball team Wednesday afternoon with Boston College visiting Sortino Field.

Last week the Eagles (22-17, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended UMass’ (22-11, 11-0 Atlantic 10) 10-game win streak with a 3-0 shutout last week in Chestnut Hill.

“Last time we played them, we didn’t really play our softball,” said shortstop Jena Cozza. “But we’re excited to play tomorrow—it’ll be a good regional matchup.”

Last time out, Boston College faced off against No. 10 Florida State and only won one of three games against the heavily favored Seminoles.

Jessica Dreswick heads the pitching staff for the Eagles with 150 innings pitched and 144 strikeouts. Allyson Frei has also starred in the circle for the Eagles, pitching 117.1 innings and posting a 1.85 ERA. Frei threw a complete game shutout in last week’s matchup between the two teams.

Coach Kristi Stefanoni will not name a starting pitcher for tomorrow’s contest, but UMass possesses a two-headed pitching attack of its own with senior Meg Colleran and freshman Kiara Oliver. The two have combined to throw 177 innings and compiled a 20-7 record with 2.67 and 2.30 ERAs, respectively.

“I think that Boston College is a good softball team,” said Stefanoni. “We have a good plan for their pitchers, and I’m looking for the team to follow the plan and buy into it.”

The Eagles lineup features multiple notable hitters, including freshman Emme Martinez. In the first game between the two sides, Martinez drove in two of the game’s three runs and is batting .284 on the year with two home runs.

Senior Annie Murphy is the top Boston College hitter in both batting average, with .359, and RBIs, with 21.

Zahra Fatehi

UMass’ batters are no slouches themselves with a lineup including the likes of Cozza and junior Melissa Garcia. Cozza has dominated opposing pitching so far this year, blasting 12 home runs to go with an NCAA-leading .521 batting average. Garcia has been a force in her own right as well, hitting .330 with 21 RBIs out of the four-hole in the lineup this season.

“I’m really excited to play tomorrow,” said Garcia. “I think we can show them what we are really about.”

“I think that [Boston College] thinks that they are just going to come in here and roll over us,” Cozza added. “Hopefully we come out and play well and get a win.”

The matchup against the in-state foes is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

Doubleheader vs. Hartford set for Thursday

A struggling Hartford (8-21, 0-8 America East) team will travel to Amherst to take on the Minutewomen for two games on Thursday.

The Hawks pitching staff is led by starter Isabella Gerone who has struggled this season to the tune of a 6.10 ERA in her 18 appearances, 14 of which were starts. Bianca Ross and Melissa Pereira are Hartford’s other options in the circle, both with ERAs north of 7.00.

Hartford will face a formidable lineup from UMass featuring five players batting over .300 for the season. The Minutewomen have also scored eight or more runs in seven of their past 11 contests.

Hartford boasts its own impressive top of the order, with three hitters batting over .300. Freshman Danielle Rocheleau is batting .338 with five home runs and 16 RBIs, to go along with an impressive .538 slugging percentage.

Despite the strong top of the lineup, the Hawks of struggled to bring runs around, scoring less than four runs a game on the season.

The non-conference doubleheader is at the end of five straight games that the Minutewomen will play at home in April.

UMass has yet to lose a game when playing at Sortino field, going 8-0 on the year so far.

First pitch for Thursday’s first game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Sortino Field.

Noah Bortle can be reached at nbortle@umass.edu, and followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.

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