Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass softball outslugged by George Washington, drops series finale 12-4

The Colonials tallied 18 hits in victory

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UMass softball outslugged by George Washington, drops series finale 12-4

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

By Dan McGee, Collegian Staff

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Trying to complete a three-game sweep of George Washington, the Massachusetts softball team dropped the series finale on Sunday, falling 12-4 to the Colonials.

Off to a hot start in the batter’s box, George Washington (31-13, 7-5 Atlantic 10) knocked in three runs in the top of the first inning to put the Colonials up 3-0 before UMass (20-16, 8-2 A-10) even had a chance to bat.

Coach Kristi Stefanoni said that the Minutewomen’s lack of energy may have impacted them early in the game.

“I don’t think we controlled what we could control today, which was our effort, our energy and our body language,” Stefanoni said. “I think that was our downfall, even when we were only down 3-0. It obviously really affected how we played softball. We didn’t do a good job of that today.”

In the bottom half of the first, a walk and a pair of hit-by-pitches loaded the bases for Minutewomen slugger Danielle Ellis. Ellis, who failed to record an out at the plate during her 5-for-5 performance in Saturday’s doubleheader, couldn’t continue her hot streak, striking out while looking to end the inning.

UMass would get its next scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third, when Kaycee Carbone ripped a double into the gap to score Kaitlyn Stavinoha from third, cutting the score to 4-1 in George Washington’s favor.

In the pitching circle, the Minutewomen opted to start Kenadee Rausch. Quinn Breidenbach would take over for the next three innings, pitching decently, allowing three runs over three innings of work. However, a comebacker to the arm sidelined Breidenbach for the remainder of the contest, forcing Rausch to return to the circle. Minutewomen ace Kiara Oliver did not pitch on Sunday.

George Washington added two more runs in the top of the fourth, as cleanup hitter Priscilla Martinez ripped an RBI-single up the middle to knock in two more runners, pushing the score to 6-1. Martinez and Colonial three-hole hitter/starting pitcher Sierra Lange did their jobs in the batter’s box on Sunday, tallying three RBIs apiece.

UMass clawed back in the top of the sixth inning, as leadoff hitter Hannah Bunker knocked an RBI single to left field to score Riley Gregoire from second base. Bunker’s performance at the top of the lineup was one of the sole bright spots for the Minutewomen on Sunday, as the second baseman reached base four times in the losing effort.

“[Bunker] did exactly what we need,” Stefanoni said. “We need someone in the leadoff spot to consistently get on so the people behind her can do their job. I call them our table setters. She did a fantastic job of that this weekend.”

“This is her first weekend in that spot and she’s obviously done a great job,” added Carbone. “Hannah is just so steady you know that every time she gets up to plate, she’s going to have a good at-bat, whether it’s by drawing a walk or getting a hit. You’re going to get something productive out of Hannah every time, which I think is why she’s such a good lead off.”

Attempting to come back late in the game, the Minutewomen suffered their worst inning of the day in the top of the seventh. The Colonials tattered the ball in the late inning, rallying for six runs on seven hits and batting around in the inning, growing the lead to 12-2.

UMass was able to grab two more runs in the bottom half, including a Carbone RBI double to put the final score at 12-4, but it ultimately didn’t matter as George Washington had already run away with the victory at that point.

Moving forward from Sunday’s loss, the Minutewomen know that they need to show up with more urgency and readiness to continue winning games.

“[Coach Stefanoni] talked about the controllables and how we can control our body language, energy and effort,” Carbone said. “I didn’t think we did a good job with those, maybe because we sat back, and we took two yesterday that maybe we just thought we could show up and win.

“But we’ve been placing a huge emphasis not just on softball but skills like that. If you do those things correctly like put in the right amount of effort—we already have the talent—then the wins will come.”

The Minutewomen will look to rebound on Wednesday as they take on Boston College. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.

Dan McGee can be reached at [email protected] on Twitter @DMcGeeUMass.

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