Depin: Five biggest takeaways from UMass softball’s weekend in the Bulldog Classic

UMass outscored 39-9 over its five games


Kago Motsoma / Daily Collegian

By Johnny Depin , Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts’s softball team (4-10) lost two games to Appalachian State (11-7), two games to No.16 Georgia (19-2) and a game to Ohio (4-10) in what was an unproductive weekend in the Bulldog Classic for the Minutewomen.

In a weekend where they faced one of the best teams in the country in Georgia, the Minutewomen failed to make noise in any of their five games, being outscored 39-9 over the weekend. Their closest loss came in their Sunday morning game against Ohio in which the Minutewomen lost 2-0 to cap off a weekend in which they never really found their footing.

What can the Minutewomen improve on? What did they do well over this stretch of games?

Limiting Walks

Over 33 innings this weekend, UMass walked 29 batters. Compare that with the amount of walks the Minutewomen drew, which was 12. Many of these free passes that the Minutewomen allowed lead directly to runs for the opposing side. Of the 29 batters that UMass walked, nine of them would come back around to score. Walks were especially prevalent in the later innings of each of the games, with two of the walks directly leading to a three-run home run that put the nail in the coffin in their second contest against Georgia. Walks are the bane of existence for any team and cutting down on the walks would only help UMass.

Cutting Down on Errors

Over their five games this weekend, the Minutewomen committed six errors. Only 29 of the 39 runs that UMass allowed in the Bulldog Classic were earned, with the remainder being unearned. These errors, compounded with the walks that the Minutewomen allowed, led to teams being able to put up crooked numbers often.

Making the Opposing Pitcher Work

The average number of pitches thrown by an opposing pitcher over this five-game stretch sat at 115 pitches, while UMass averaged just over 132 pitches a game. Opponents only went to the bullpen four times over the weekend, with three of those pitching changes coming from one game. The best way to stop starting pitchers from getting in a flow is to grind out at-bats and get deep into counts. Only good things can come from making the opposing starter work hard for every out, and it can lead to the pitcher either getting sloppy with their stuff or result in a call to a reliever.

Taking Advantage of Runners on Base

UMass had 32 runners left on base over this five-game stretch. While left on base isn’t a perfect statistic, it is a very good reflection of the Minutewomen’s offense in the Bulldog Classic. There were a lot of missed opportunities for UMass, who at one point in its first game against Appalachian State had the bases loaded and were unable to come away with any runs. 32 runners left on base doesn’t seem like that high of a number over five games, but that number speaks to the lack of offensive firepower that the Minutewomen had throughout the Bulldog Classic.

Good Weekend for Individual Players

Leadoff hitter and shortstop Bella Pantoja had a solid weekend for the Minutewomen, recording five hits in 17 at-bats. Outfielder Payge Suggs had a similarly good tournament, recording three hits and also receiving three of the 12 walks that the Minutewomen drew. First basemen Kendra Allen drove in three of the nine runs scored by UMass, and outfielder Chloe Whittier added her second home run of the season in Georgia over the weekend.

The Minutewomen’s losing streak now stands at six, and they have only won once in their past nine games. Their next games will take place in the USF tournament which takes place from March 11th-13th in Tampa, Fl.

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @jdepin101.