Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass softball takes two wins in double header vs. Rhode Island

UMass’ strong defensive play gives them 6-2 and 2-1 victories

Caroline O'Connor

Caroline O'Connor

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The Massachusetts softball team improved to 28-12 and remained undefeated in conference play Tuesday in a doubleheader against Rhode Island. The Minutewomen took a 2-1 victory in the second game behind a strong seven innings of pitching from Kiara Oliver.

Oliver held the Rams to one run on two hits and two walks, and notched 11 strikeouts in the victory.

UMass’ only scoring came in the bottom of the second on a two out opposite field single by Riley Gregoire that drove in Caroline Videtto and Amy Smith.

Oliver did not allow a hit until the third inning, when a walk and two hits by URI plated their lone run of the game.

“That all goes to Kiara,” said Coach Kristi Stefanoni. “When they were able to put the ball in play we were really good at picking it up and throwing people out.”

Despite strong defensive play from UMass keeping the Rams to only one run, UMass struggled to get hits after scoring in the second inning. They left several runners stranded in the later innings, including two in the fifth, when a Madison Gimpl fly ball that appeared to be heading foul was caught inside the first baseline.

The Minutewomen connected well in the bottom of the sixth, but went down in order with long fly balls by Smith, Kaitlyn Stavinoha and Hannah Bunker.

“We just for some reason today couldn’t lay off of the pitch that was at our letters, and you can’t be successful like that,” said Stefanoni. “We were not disciplined today and because of that we weren’t as successful offensively today as we normally are.”

UMass’ offense, though limited, was led by Melissa Garcia and Smith. Garcia finished the game 3-for-3, while Smith went 2-for-3 and scored what proved to be the winning run.

 

 

UMass rides strong fourth inning to victory

The opening game of Tuesday’s double header saw UMass take control in the fourth inning and never look back.

The Minutewomen trailed in the first as URI jumped out to an early lead, grabbing three hits off starting pitcher Meg Colleran, who was relieved by Quinn Breidenbach after just two-thirds of an inning.

UMass responded in the bottom of the first, taking a 2-1 lead. With Erin Stacevicz on second and Jena Cozza on third, the Minutewomen executed a double steal on the throw back to the pitcher. Cozza scored, and when the throw to home was mishandled by Rams’ catcher Rachel Kuhlman, Stacevicz scored as well.

UMass had a chance to tack on some more runs in the bottom of the second inning when three URI errors put Hannah Bunker, Riley Gregoire and Cozza on with two outs. However, a fly ball left all three stranded and the game remained at 2-1.

The Rams drew even in the top of the third on a long home run, the only of the day. The score remained at 2-2 until the fourth inning.

Tied at two in the bottom of the fourth, the Minutewomen loaded the bases with two outs before Kaycee Carbone hit a long double off the wall to score three. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Carbone scored on an infield single by Melissa Garcia, giving UMass a 6-2 lead.

Carbone led the Minutewomen offense in the first game, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. She said her at bats felt much better than last weekend, when she recorded one hit on six at bats against St. Bonaventure.

“I was just focusing on making hard contact today,” Carbone said. “I think I did my job for the most part.”

The game ended in dramatic fashion with UMass still leading 6-2 in the top of the seventh. With two runners on and two outs, a would-be home run was stolen by Carbone to ensure the Minutewomen the victory.

Stefanoni suggested that luck played a major role in the Minutewomen’s sweep of the Rams.

“We did not play good softball today. Somehow we got two wins,” she said. “We were out of our element, out of our minds a bit.”

Weather permitting, UMass will return to action Wednesday as they host Connecticut. The game will begin at 4 p.m.

 

Caroline O’Connor

 

Will Katcher can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @will_katcher.

 

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