Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Depin: Five biggest takeaways from UMass softball’s 1-4 weekend in the USF Tournament

UMass commits seven errors en route to being outscored 31-18
Kago Motsoma/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts softball team went 1-4 losing to Stony Brook, Ohio State, No. 22 South Florida and splitting a series with Army in a weekend in which they failed to recover from its 0-5 finish in the Bulldog Classic March 4-6.

It seemed like a rehash of their previous tournament; the Minutewomen (5-14) being unable to build momentum at almost any point in their games. The lone bright spot came in its 8-3 thrashing of the Black Knights (5-15), sandwiched between two days in which UMass went 0-4.

At points it seemed as though the Minutewomen had improved since their uneventful weekend in Georgia, though the last two games in the tournament, where both games ended in the fifth due to the eight-run mercy rule, painted a much different picture.

What led to the Minutewomen’s success, and what held them back?

Avoiding big innings

It wasn’t death by a thousand cuts for UMass, it was quite the opposite. In single innings this tournament, the Minutewomen have allowed six runs once, and four runs twice. That six-run inning by the Bulls (22-3) would effectively put the game out of reach for UMass as it gave South Florida a 7-0 lead. Before allowing the other team to put up crooked numbers, the Minutewomen were always either tied or down by one. While the final score of its game against USF may have made it seem like a dominating performance for its opponent, UMass stuck with them the entire way until allowing six runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Limiting errors

Similar to their weekend in the Bulldog Classic, errors cost the Minutewomen. UMass averaged over an error a game, seven in a five-game span. By giving the other teams a chance to extend the inning, the Minutewomen are setting themselves up to be on the receiving end of a crooked number being put up on the scoreboard. Unlike UMass’ weekend in Georgia, where 10 of the total 39 runs it allowed were unearned, only three of the 31 they allowed were unearned in USF, which shows an ability to recover from its own mistakes.

Inconsistent offense

At their best, the Minutewomen offense was scoring eight runs on eight hits. At their worst, they were getting no hit en route to a mercy rule loss. This inconsistency in part lies in who they were playing, as they were getting no-hit by the Buckeyes (13-3), who only have three losses so far this season. But by being able to find consistency, the Minutewomen might be able to get into a groove no matter the opponent. Through the first three games of the tournament, UMass had 21 hits. In the final two, they had one.

Cutting down on the long ball 

Over this five-game stretch, the Minutewomen allowed six home runs. These six home runs accounted for over a third of the runs UMass allowed in Tampa. This speaks to the clogged base paths that come with walks and errors, which the Minutewomen are no stranger to allowing.

Something to build on

Despite going 1-4 on the weekend, there were a lot of positives to build upon. At points, UMass’ offense was just, as if not more, potent than it had been at any point in the season. 18 runs over five games, a 3.6 runs per game average, is nothing to sneeze at. Walks were also much improved from the previous tournament, as the Minutewomen brought their walk number from 29 all the way down to 18. A difference of 11 walks can change a set of games significantly, and we saw this as UMass allowed eight fewer runs than they did in its weekend in Georgia.

The Minutewomen have now lost 10 of their last 11 games. UMass will hope to bounce back against Atlantic 10 foe Rhode Island, which will be a three-game set on March 19-20 in Kingston, RI.

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jdepin101.

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