UMass softball loses two late inning leads in the Atlantic 10 tournament

Back to back losses eliminate the Minutewomen

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Shilpa Sweth / Daily Collegian

By Johnny Depin, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts softball team was eliminated from the Atlantic 10 tournament on Wednesday night losing by scores of 3-2 and 4-2, respectively. The Minutewomen (19-32, 12-12 A-10) were beaten by Saint Joseph’s and Dayton.

In its first game on Wednesday, UMass held a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning until back to back errors led to the Hawks (23-21, 14-8 A-10) scoring two runs. Ultimately, St. Joe’s prevailed with a walk off home run from Taylor Marinelli which ended the contest.

Of the three runs given up by starter Jessie DiPasquale, two were unearned. Errors had been an aspect of the game that the Minutewomen improved on over the course of the season, but they came back to bite them in the first game. After winning two out its three matchups against Saint Joseph’s in the regular season, UMass was unable to recover from its own mistakes.

“We made a couple of errors, and you know that cost us in the first game,” UMass coach Danielle Henderson said. “But physical errors happen, we were still able to compete, so I can’t get mad at that.”

The second game began the same way for the Minutewomen, as they opened up with an early lead on the Flyers (20-23, 12-10 A-10) before a flurry of singles and extra base hits gave Dayton four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Unlike the first game of the evening, UMass benefited from errors in its contest against Dayton, as the Flyers committed two errors, leading to the Minutewomen scoring an unearned run. This has been a facet of the UMass offense all season, as its been very opportunistic with the chances given.

“You know you’re not going to score on everyone, but at least we put forth the effort to give ourselves a chance to [score],” Henderson said.

The Minutewomen struggled with offense all of Wednesday, as they totaled nine hits over their two games, a total that was matched by Dayton in its one game against UMass.

With only four Minutewomen graduating, this team will mostly be intact at the beginning of the 2023 season, primed to make another run in the A-10 tournament. As shown by her performance in the game against Saint Joseph’s, DiPasquale has been the rock UMass had been looking for all season. As a junior, she is set to lead a pitching staff that improved drastically over the course of the season.

Bella Pantoja is another player who is set to command the infield for the next couple seasons. As a sophomore, she led the team in average, batting .306 and also had a fielding percentage of .942. With an older infield as a whole, Pantoja will be vital to holding together a solid defensive four on the diamond.

“We ended the season as a better team than when we started it. They got better at everything we asked them to do,” Henderson said. “I’m very proud of them. We had a goal of getting better and we were able to reach that.”

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