UMass splits doubleheader with Maine on Tuesday afternoon

Kristi Stefanoni disappointed in team’s lack of energy in second game

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Lynus Erickson

Lynus Erickson / Daily Collegian

By Myles Carter, Collegian Correspondent

Going into Tuesday’s doubleheader with Maine, the Massachusetts women’s softball team looked to make an impression after its tug of war series with Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia last weekend, which they split 2-2.

After only scoring three runs in the first four innings, the Minutewomen (7-10, 4-6 Atlantic 10) dominated the fifth inning by scoring a whopping eight runs. This inning set the tone for the rest of the game and solidified the UMass lead and win for game one.

Entering the fifth inning, head coach Kristi Stefanoni said that the team came together as they usually do when down or struggling. The term they like to use is called “passing the bat,” which means to make a play and give the next person up the opportunity to do the same.

“We need everyone to step up to the plate and find a way to get on base,” Stefanoni said. “Whether it’s dropping a bunt, taking a walk, getting a hit, anything big or small helps. Passing the bat keeps it simple and that’s how we went into the fifth.”

When asked what the most significant change has been for her team this season and the plan going into Tuesday’s opening game, Stefanoni harped in on their aggression.

“The goal is to attack strikes early,” Stefanoni said. “Our M.O. this season was for us just to wait around for the pitch that we want and instead we’ve been more aggressive. And that’s been our new mindset, to be a tough out at the plate, take the pitcher five to six pitches deep and make her throw the pitch that we want later on in the count. This new aggressiveness has created more opportunities to put the ball in play and score as you may have seen recently.”

Since they played Syracuse 11 days prior, the Minutewomen have scored a total of 70 runs over the past eight games, compared to the 30 they had through eight games before that matchup.

Although they won game one 15-6, Stefanoni was not happy with the energy and the things she saw on the field.

“Honestly, our energy was a little low, and I thought we looked lackadaisical out there,” Stefanoni said. “It really took us all the way up until the middle of the first game, in the fifth inning to get started and get our head straight and into the game.

“I don’t think that we showed up very well today, in general and I told the team that I felt that we were kind of lucky and I don’t want to be lucky, I want to be good.”

Stefanoni did not hold back or mince words when describing the biggest difference between the first and second game, pointing out her team’s poor defense.

“Our defense looked really sloppy today, a couple times we got lucky with them getting doubled off of the bases,” Stefanoni said. “I think we were just sloppy on defense and that’s not how we play defense, not here, not traditionally and we just need to be better overall. Defense wins and we need to play better especially when the ball is put on the ground or in play in the air.”

Maine (7-13, 4-2 America East) captured game two, taking the lead early and keeping it that way, winning 9-4, .

As a takeaway from Tuesday’s games and going into the weekend, coach Stefanoni claimed, “the [team] energy will be much different for La Salle.”

The Minutewomen currently have a record of 7-10 on the season and have four days off before continuing their homestand at Sortino Field in a four-game series against La Salle this weekend. The first pitch of game one will be on Saturday, April 17 at 12 p.m.

Myles Carter can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MCarterWrites.