UMass softball sweeps La Salle with 8-2 victory

Minutewomen improve to 6-1 in Atlantic 10

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UMass softball sweeps La Salle with 8-2 victory

(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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The Massachusetts softball team secured an 8-2 victory and a weekend sweep over La Salle on Sunday after Quinn Breidenbach’s brilliance in the circle and key production from the bottom half of UMass’ lineup. The team improved to 6-1 in the Atlantic 10 and moved to 18-14 overall.

Kenadee Rausch started for the second straight game and, once again, struggled out of the gate. La Salle jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the freshman and tacked on another run in the following inning before Rausch made way for Breidenbach before the third.

Rausch was able to limit the damage in the first by recording two straight outs with the bases loaded. She managed to get out of another pickle in the second.

Breidenbach would take over for Rausch after the second and she delivered one of her better performances of the season. It was especially clutch since ace Kiara Oliver pitched in both games of Saturday’s double headers, making it undesirable to pitch her in three straight contests.

“I felt like I was really focused today. I came in and I was very locked in,” Breidenbach said. “I do not even think I knew the inning half the time because I was just so zoned in on working from pitch to pitch and at bat to at bat and letting my defense do the work for me.”

She didn’t surrender a run over five innings and only allowed three hits. Breidenbach picked up the win and improved her record to 7-2.

Breidenbach’s pitching allowed UMass’ bats to get into a rhythm. UMass’ offense had some early difficulties against La Salle starter Morgan Orlowski being held scoreless until the fourth inning. In that frame, Alyssa Lyon, out of the seventh spot in Kristi Stefanoni’s lineup, laced a triple out of the seventh spot in the lineup to score two baserunners and tie the game.

It was just the third hit of the game for the Minutewomen.

In the next inning, eight hitter Caroline Videtto notched a run-scoring single to put the Minutewomen up by one and they would never look back. The sixth inning saw five UMass runs including two more driven in by Lyon.

Danielle Ellis brought home a run as a pinch hitter with a base hit in that frame. Ellis, Videtto and Lyon were responsible for six of the eight runs.

“A great coach once said to me that you are only as good as the production of bottom of the lineup,” Stefanoni said. “We are going to need production from all parts of the lineup so that the top does not always feel like its them and the bottom does not always feel like its them and vice versa.

“They balanced each other out really well this weekend in the sweep.”

Lyon’s big game included a terrific play at third base, when she dove to her left to field a hard-hit ground ball destined for left field which would have scored at least one run. She fielded the ball, got up and delivered a strike to first base to get the runner.

“We worked a lot on drills this past week,” Lyon said. “I think it really just stepped up my game so I could take my time in the field to make me more confident to get those left side balls.”

UMass will be back on the diamond on Wednesday, when the Minutewomen take on Central Connecticut State at Sortino Field.

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