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

Murgida: Five takeaways from the start of UMass Softball’s 2023 season

Minutewomen struggle to play from behind
Jeff Bernstein / Daily Collegian.

After the conclusion of 26 innings in Orlando for the UCF Tournament, the Massachusetts softball team lost to University of Central Florida, Georgia, Boise State and Ohio State.

UMass (0-4) looked for a bright start to its season after going 19-32 last spring. And while they struggled to get their opponents off the field early, the Minutewomen didn’t give up. Their closest loss came against Ohio State, where a 1-0 defeat showed light for the defense but was dark on the offensive side.

As the season kicks off, what can UMass do to avoid creating negative trends? What seems to be working so far?


One inning determining games

Even though three outs are all it takes to stop the bleeding, one inning often dictated a downfall for the Minutewomen. They gave up five runs in the fifth inning of a contest against Georgia, and four runs in the fourth inning against Boise State, which ultimately would be too much for them to catch up.

One leaky inning set them back and they couldn’t rally to take the lead. With opposing teams getting runners on base early and increasing the pitch count, later innings saw more runs. UMass held a lead for three total innings over the weekend.

Getting on base

The Minutewomen struggled to make contact with the ball during these matchups, as they struck out 39 times. In matchups against Georgia and Ohio State, UMass pitchers saw more action than their opponents. By swinging the bat and striking out, rather than taking a pitch, the Minutewomen failed to apply pressure and force their opponents to throw more pitches down the middle.

Scoring runs early

Over these four games, opposing teams outscored UMass 15-5 in the first four innings. The Minutewomen were only winning in the first four innings during one of these games. Scoring runs early is extremely important for the success of any team; it determines momentum and puts players in a positive psychological state.

Scoring early will also allow the Minutewomen to examine how a pitcher is throwing, along with forcing other teams to make more pitching changes. The bullpen was only used by opponent teams during two of the four games that took place.

Limiting opponent hits

Over the weekend, UMass pitchers gave up 41 hits along with 28 runs, so the Minutewomen didn’t truly have time to find momentum. A way to limit hits is by working the strike zone and making opponents swing outside at pitches that are tougher to hit. Utilizing defensive shifts can enable more force outs and fielder choices; it’s another effective way of limiting runs.

Strong weekend from individual players

Junior cleanup hitter and third baseman Sarah Keagy had fantastic baserunning awareness as she scored twice over the four-game span, which was due to an error and off a fielder’s choice.

After a rough start against Georgia, and despite the loss, sophomore pitcher Julianne Bolton was dominant against Ohio State. In her second start of the season, she gave up only one run while striking out four and walking none through pitching a full game.


The Minutewomen will seek their first win of the season when they travel to South Carolina for the Charleston Southern Tournament, which will take place from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19.

Jonathan Murgida can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jonathanmurgida.

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