Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass softball to square off against URI for two on Wednesday

Minutewomen and Rams to play doubleheader

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UMass softball to square off against URI for two on Wednesday

By Tim Sorota, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts softball team hits the road Wednesday to take on Rhode Island in a doubleheader.

The Minutewomen enter the game with a record of 8-2 in the Atlantic 10 while the Rams are 3-10 in the A-10 after they were swept this weekend by Saint Louis. Wednesday is the only time all season UMass will face an in-conference rival during the week.

The Minutewomen are coming off a complete washout with Dayton which only allowed them to complete two innings out of the three games that were scheduled.

The players should be well rested and ready to compete, but now there is a question if rust will play a factor early in the game.

“It may be,” said coach Kristi Stefanoni, “but it is not like we have not played for a month of two. So, if anything I think they are going to be excited to get out there and compete.”

The Rams and Minutewomen know each other very well, so both teams will be prepared. UMass’ bats will see a familiar face in Rams’ senior Becca Rogers. She currently has a 2.62 ERA and is 7-7. They could also see another senior out of the bullpen in Julia Waraksy.

Waraksy and Rogers were a tandem that faced the Minutewomen in one of last year’s games which saw UMass defeat URI 6-2. Rogers struggled giving up five runs in just over two innings while Warasky did not surrender a run over two innings. Kaycee Carbone had a big game for UMass going 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

In the other game last season, another current Rams’ pitcher, Sarah Gunderson, was brilliant and pitched the entire game. But she was bested by three UMass players who will look to make an impact on Wednesday.

Starter Kiara Oliver threw a complete game two-hitter yielding only one run. They got all the offense they needed from current first basewomen Melissa Garcia who went 3-for-3 while Amy Smith went 2-for-6 as the Minutewomen earned a victory by a score of 2-1.

The Rams will look for revenge following the two hard contested losses.

“They are scrappy. They have a do or die mentality. I do not think they will ever give up,” said Stefanoni about Wednesday’s opponent. “I think they are going to be extremely competitive tomorrow for us. It could be a tough game.”

In order to come out on top again, UMass will be looking to stick to the approach that they have been working on in the last two days of practice and all season. That has meant being discipline by avoiding pitches out of the strike zone but attacking ones that are in the zone.

On defense, the Minutewomen need to make plays behind their pitchers whether that is Kenadee Rausch, Quinn Breidenbach or Kiara Oliver.

Untimely errors have cost UMass at some points this season and they know that is not a good recipe if they want to beat URI.

“We have to follow our plan that we have been prepping for these last two days at the plate. If we do that we can be successful,” Stefanoni said. “Defensively, we need to make the play behind them because we are going to get groundballs.”

The first pitch for game one is schedule at 1 p.m. while the second game will begin about 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first one with a tentative start time of 3 p.m.

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

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