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

UMass softball swept by George Washington in doubleheader

Minutewomen score one run in two games
Shilpa Sweth / Daily Collegian

The Atlantic 10 conference tournament looms in the horizon still for the Massachusetts softball team who lost both games in a doubleheader against George Washington at home Saturday, capping off a disappointing farewell in senior day.

UMass (19-29, 12-11 A-10) lost 11-1 in the second game and 1-0 (eight innings) in the first game. The Colonials (32-12, 20-3 A-10) showed great improvement after a close game in the first match, dominating the second one from start to finish.

“I felt the first game was way better than the second game,” Minutewomen coach Danielle Henderson said. “We played hard, we had great at bats the first game; second game our at bats were still pretty good, but I didn’t think defensively we did that good of a job. I thought we could’ve gone all out and made some more plays and that would kind of not let some things happen.”

George Washington had a quick start in the second game. The A-10 favorites scored two runs in the top of the second and racked up six hits in the first three innings, which set a tone UMass couldn’t keep up with. The Colonials outhit its rivals 17-5 and finished with an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of 1.225.

In the bottom of the second, the Minutewomen had a chance to avoid falling behind early. With Kendra Allen on second base, Abby Packard hit a line drive to left field, but the umpire ruled it a foul ball on a decision that could’ve gone either way and negated a run from Allen.

Immediately afterwards, outfielder Emily Whelan hit a comebacker to the pitcher, who couldn’t handle the bounce and allowed Whelan to load the bases. Whelan ended the day as the only Minutewomen with multiple hits. The next at bat was from Bella Pantoja, who had a chance to get UMass on the scoreboard with two outs but struck out swinging.

In the bottom of the third, Jules Shields drove in Giana Wameling with a bloop single for UMass’ first run of the weekend, but it was all downhill from there for the Minutewomen.

“In the first game everything was really working,” Henderson said. “In the second game there were just plays that we could’ve made, and we gave them a couple extra bases and I think those things kind of turn the momentum around a little bit.”

“Our balls were staying in the air too long, so instead of those being base hits, they just ended being out … Our approach was good, I just think if we put the ball on the ground or got it through a little bit more we maybe would’ve gotten more basic hits.”

George Washington scored five runs in the top of the fifth thanks to a grand slam from Maddie Spell, the star of the day for the Colonials. The bomb to left-center field made it a 7-1 lead. Following the play, UMass changed pitchers from Jenna Bradley, who allowed 12 hits in the first five innings, to graduate student Kali Puppolo.

Even after the switch, George Washington proved why it is the toughest competitor the Minutewomen have faced in conference play this season. The Colonials pulled away into mercy rule range with four runs over the last two innings, including another homer by Spell, to conclude an 11-1 win.

Julianne Bolton defined the first game for UMass. The freshman pitcher threw a complete game shutout until extra innings came around. Both teams had combined for three hits by the eighth inning.

“I personally think it was a really good performance for me and I think my team had my back so it was easy to pitch behind them today,” Bolton said. “I was really playing for the seniors today because obviously I wanted to give them a win on senior day. I just went after the batters and it was a great game.”

After eight innings, Bolton allowed four hits, one earned run, walked three batters and struck out five. Her curve and rise balls have been improving all season and proved extremely effective against the best team in the conference.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Minutewomen had to score one run to tie it up. With two strikes and two outs, Grace Cadden had one last chance to keep UMass in it but struck out swinging to end the first half of the doubleheader.

Chloe Whittier was the only player to record a hit for UMass with a single, while George Washington had four players with at least one.

Colonial pitcher Sierra Lange had a stellar performance. She allowed no runs, no walks, struck out 10 batters and held UMass to a .117 OPS. After the win, her record on the season improved to 23-7.

A win for UMass tomorrow in the series finale clinches a spot in the A-10 conference tournament. First pitch is at 12 p.m. on Sunday.

Pedro Gray Soares can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @P_GraySoares.

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