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’ bats pick up in latter half of Florida State tournament

Minutewomen leave Tallahassee with a 2-3 record
Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2022)

The Massachusetts softball team had a slow start to its weekend in Tallahassee but improved its performance for the last two games.

UMass (5-9) was anchored by sophomore pitcher Julianne Bolton throughout the weekend. Allowing seven runs over four games, Bolton gave UMass the confidence it needed to finish out strong.

“She’s been pitching well for us,” head coach Danielle Henderson said. “Her pitches are moving well, and she’s had some pretty good mound presence.”

Outside of her pitching, she was able to contribute in other areas of the game. Bolton made it to the batter’s box on Sunday against Colgate and recorded two hits and two RBIs.

In the first three games of the tournament, UMass’ offense came up short. With only 4 runs scored throughout those games, the Minutewomen needed a change for the next two contests. A shift was made, and UMass notched two wins over Colgate on back-to-back days.

“We’ve been playing tough competition,” Henderson said. “Record-wise it seems like a slow start, but I’m seeing our team get better and better.”

Bats may have been cold in the first few games, but UMass sought improvement in its hitting and converted for the next two. Over just the two games against Colgate, the Minutewomen finished with 23 hits compared to the previous 14 hits over three games.

“I thought we just had better pitch selection,” Henderson said. “We were swinging at a lot of balls previously, so I just thought we had a better eye.”

The first win of the tournament was bolstered by pitcher Jenna Bradley. The Minutewomen came out on top, defeating Colgate 6-2. Bradley as the new pitcher in the first game against Colgate was a welcomed change for UMass. This change proved well for the Minutewomen as Bradley threw a solid seven innings with only two runs allowed.

Many of the pitchers in UMass’ bullpen saw the mound this weekend. Henderson says this strategy is to figure out where each pitcher fits in the roster, so ensuring that everyone saw the mound was key to this decision.

Left fielder Giana Wameling added three runs and one RBI in UMass’ first win against Colgate after a quiet start to the tournament. With all players contributing offensively, the Minutewomen were hard to stop.

This momentum was carried into the next game of the weekend, an 8-3 win against Colgate on Sunday. Similar to the previous game, UMass’ hitting was successful. Colgate tried multiple pitching changes on Sunday in hopes of slowing the Minutewomen’s offense down, but it was ineffective.

Throughout the entirety of the weekend, shortstop Bella Pantoja stayed consistent with the bat. With at least one hit on each of the five games played, Pantoja kept the Minutewomen’s offensive spark alive. She finished with five RBIs in the tournament as well.

“She did phenomenal on both offense and defense,” Henderson said on Pantoja. “That’s just who she is. I saw her swing and she was able to get her timing a little bit better with it and I think that it paid off here.”

UMass is set to play at the East Carolina University Tournament next. The first game of the weekend begins on Saturday, March 11 at 12 p.m..

Rachel Toth can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RachelToth46.

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