UMass’ bats fail to adjust in time in loss against George Washington

Minutewomen held hitless until the third inning

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UMass’ bats fail to adjust in time in loss against George Washington

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

By Tim Sorota, Collegian Staff

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Facing a dominant starter for George Washington, the Massachusetts softball team struggled to score in their 12-4 loss Sunday afternoon.

Sierra Lange started for the second time this series for George Washington (31-13, 7-5 Atlantic 10), and once again, delivered a strong outing. The sophomore went all seven innings, allowing eight hits and three earned runs while picking up her 19th win on the season.

UMass (20-16, 8-2 A-10) hitters were able to get on base with a couple walks and hit-by-pitches, but they were unable to sustain a consistent attack and challenge Lange.

Lange, who allowed nine hits and three earned runs in yesterday’s game, changed her approach and focused on painting the corners with outside pitches rather than pounding the top of the strike zone. UMass struggled with adjusting until it was too late.

“We just waited until the sixth or the seventh inning to adjust and really attack the zone,” coach Kristi Stefanoni said. “Kudos to her for making a change, but we need to be much better at recognizing that early on in the game.”

UMass did do some damage in the sixth and seventh inning, scoring a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. But, at that point, the game was already lost. The Minutewomen trailed 6-1 before the sixth inning.

UMass was unable to get timely hits with runners on base, which was its downfall on Sunday, stranding 10 baserunners.

“I think it goes back to my comment about us attacking the zone,” Stefanoni said about situational hitting. “Having the mentality of when we have runners in scoring position, just always finding a way to score them. I think we did a good job of that in the sixth and seventh, but unfortunately, just too little, too late.”

Hannah Bunker notched the first hit for the Minutewomen in the third and would eventually come around to score on a Kaycee Carbone double to make the score 4-1.

But George Washington would score two more unanswered before hanging a six-spot on UMass reliever Kenadee Rausch in the seventh to put the game completely out of reach.

Carbone was a bright spot for the UMass lineup out of the clean-up position. She saw the ball well against Lange, recording two hits and was hit twice. She was also responsible for bringing home two of the four Minutewomen runs.

“I was finally swinging at strikes,” Carbone said. “I had the mentality of attacking early in the count.”

As to her teammates’ struggles, Carbone said Lange’s adjustment from Saturday’s game to Sunday caught the other UMass’ bats off-guard.

“I think we were expecting her to throw a lot more rise balls,” she said. “Maybe we went up a little hesitant and people were letting the low fast balls go. But today she was more working east to west and she was getting us on low pitches and changeups.”

UMass was outhit 18-8 on Sunday.

Tim Sorota can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @timsorota.