UMass softball slugs its way to 13-3 win over UConn

Minutewomen record 20 hits in victory

Graphic+by+Simon+Nathans
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UMass softball slugs its way to 13-3 win over UConn

Graphic by Simon Nathans

Graphic by Simon Nathans

Graphic by Simon Nathans

Graphic by Simon Nathans

By Tim Sorota, Collegian Staff

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After dropping their first Atlantic 10 game in over a year on Sunday, the Massachusetts softball team wasted no time turning the page with a 13-3 win over Connecticut.

UMass totaled 20 hits, which was one off of the program record, with senior Erin Stacevicz tying the single-game mark with five.

The Minutewomen handed the ball to freshman Kenadee Rausch to start the game. The Gilbert, Arizona native got in some trouble early, allowing a double with the bases loaded to give UConn an early lead. After the double, she was able to weather the storm and prevent any more baserunners to cross home that inning.

She pitched out of jams in the first, second and fourth innings to allow UMass’ bats to do their thing.

UMass had no trouble getting runners on at any point of the game. But, during the first three innings, they had some difficulty bringing them home. The game was tied at two until UMass started to break it wide open in the fourth thanks to an important adjustment at the plate.

“We were swinging at a pitch that we should not have been swinging at and we were striking out or popping up,” said coach Kristi Stefanoni. “So that inning, either the third or the fourth, I brought them in and we kind of changed our game plan a little bit. They responded very well to what they were asked to do.”

From that point on, the Minutewomen were more disciplined and avoided swinging at pitches above the strike zone. They worked the counts full and recorded 10 walks as a team. That approach was rewarded on the scoreboard with UMass scoring two runs in the fourth and three runs in each of the last three innings to outscore UConn 11-1 during that span.

Stefanoni cites her team’s effort in practice as a reason why they were able to score so many runs Wednesday.

“We really worked a lot yesterday on staying in the count no matter what,” she said. “Fighting off pitches that could be called strikes, so that we can see more pitches and get more opportunities to get the pitch that we want.”

The bats chased UConn starter Katie Koshes in the fifth inning after she had allowed 13 UMass hits, six walks, and seven earned runs. They would be equally as unfriendly to UConn relievers Kylie Gavitt and Carli Cutler.

After the first inning, Rausch found her groove and ended up tossing a complete game. She only allowed six hits and two walks while striking out five. She also gave starter Kiara Oliver a welcomed day of rest.

“I think she has been working really hard,” said Stefanoni “She hit her spots today and she got the job done.”

UMass is back in action this week as they head back into Atlantic 10 play and face off against La Salle this weekend at Sortino Field in Amherst.

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