Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass softball sweeps St. Bonaventure to stay perfect in A-10 play

Oliver shines, picks up two wins

Caroline O'Connor

Caroline O'Connor

By Amin Touri, Assistant Sports Editor

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A weekend trip to Olean, New York was a successful one for the Massachusetts softball team, as the Minutewomen swept St. Bonaventure to stay unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play.

UMass (26-12, 14-0 A-10) opened the weekend with a run-rule-shortened 10-1 victory before notching 5-1 and 5-2 wins to complete the sweep over the last-place Bonnies (8-29, 1-15 A-10).

“I thought it went really well,” said UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni. “St. Bonaventure is a tough place to play; it’s a long drive, they’re always tough to play at home, their field is all turf. I was really proud of they way they held strong throughout those last two games.”

Freshman Kiara Oliver got the ball for Sunday’s finale, and she continued her stellar season in the circle. Oliver threw five shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out seven in a 5-2 win.

Madison Gimpl had herself a particularly potent day at the plate on Sunday, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the way offensively. Her two-RBI double in the third pushed UMass’ lead to 3-0, and another double into the gap in the fifth made it 4-0.

Two batters later, junior Kaitlyn Stavinoha continued to push her batting average north with a single to left to score Gimpl and put the Minutewomen up 5-0. Stavinoha went 2-for-2 on Sunday and 5-for-9 for the weekend, with her average sitting at .320 for the year.

Sophomore Quinn Breidenbach struggled to close out the final two innings, allowing her first runs of the conference schedule, but UMass finished off a 5-2 win.

Saturday’s second game was a bit of a scare for the Minutewomen, who trailed 1-0 after four innings and who sat tied at 1-1 after six innings. But with the bases loaded in the seventh, Gimpl came up big with a double to score all three runs and break the game open. After Stavinoha singled to right to score Gimpl, UMass led 5-1 and Oliver shut the door in the bottom half to seal the win.

Oliver was also strong on Saturday, throwing a complete game and allowing just one run on two hits, fanning eight batters to pick up the win.

Gimpl finished the weekend with six RBIs, fourth-most in the UMass lineup.

“[Gimpl] did great,” said Stefanoni. “I don’t think she gets enough recognition, and I don’t know if it’s because she’s between Kaycee [Carbone] and Mel [Garcia], but she’s been a great five-hitter for us. She’s done really well and come in pretty clutch the last couple of games with some good base hits.

“She came up with the bases loaded, sat on a changeup and cleared the bases with a double, and that was huge for us over the weekend.”

The weekend’s opener was the least competitive of the three, as the Minutewomen erupted for a six-run sixth inning to end things early, taking a 10-1 lead and closing out a run-rule win after six innings.

The production came from all over the lineup, as six different Minutewomen knocked in at least one run. Melissa Garcia’s first-inning single and an ensuing error opened the scoring, and Garcia’s third homer of the year, a two-run shot in the third, pushed the lead to 3-0.

UMass led 4-1 heading into the sixth, when the real show started. Stavinoha’s RBI single got things started and made it 5-1, before Riley Gregoire continued her hot streak at the plate with a bases-loaded single to score another run and bring up senior Jena Cozza, the conference’s leading hitter.

With nowhere to put her, the Bonnies had to pitch to her, and Cozza smacked a double down the left field line to score a pair and make it 8-1. An RBI groundout from Erin Stacevicz and an RBI double from Kaycee Carbone capped it all off, as Breidenbach entered the circle with a 10-1 lead and set St. Bonaventure down in order to close it out.

Senior Meg Colleran got plenty of run support but hardly needed it, allowing just one run on four hits in five innings for her 10th win of the season.

“A win’s a win’s a win,” Stavinoha said, “we’re still perfect in A-10 play obviously, but I think we would’ve liked to come out and jump on them a little bit more especially going into a busy week, it would’ve been nice to have a slugfest. But it’s done, a win’s a win, we’ll come out from it and be better this week and this weekend.”

The Minutewomen have a quick turnaround, hosting Rhode Island for a doubleheader on Tuesday, followed by a non-conference matchup with Connecticut on Wednesday.

Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Amin_Touri.

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