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 loses pitcher’s duel against UMass Lowell

Two home runs prove to be difference maker
Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian.

With the Massachusetts softball team down two runs to UMass Lowell on the top of the fourth, the stage was set for it to retake the lead. Three singles in the early stages of the inning gave the Minutewomen (7-15, 0-3 Atlantic 10) bases loaded with one out in the inning and a prime opportunity. It was the best that they would get in the game. Two strikeouts later and UMass went back to the dugout empty handed, still down 2-0. Not much would change throughout the remainder of the contest, as it lost 3-0.

This was the story of the game for the Minutewomen. They left nine runners on base compared to the River Hawks’ (8-12-1) six. UMass had slightly fewer hits than Lowell but wasn’t able to capitalize when it had runners in scoring position.

“I thought that [our] at-bats were pretty good, they were just trying to hit singles and get on base,” head coach Danielle Henderson said. “We just got a little tight when runners were on base. I think if we kept the approach we had to get on base, we would’ve been able to push a few through.”

The River Hawks weren’t exactly knocking in runners with ease; all three of their runs came from the result of home runs, with Morgan Fisher hitting a two-run blast in the bottom of the first inning. Mya Case added a solo shot of her own during the bottom of the sixth inning to extend Lowell’s lead to three.

In between the two home runs was utter dominance from starting pitcher Julianne Bolton. After allowing a home run in the bottom of the first, she went on a streak of eight consecutive strikeouts, the first seven of which were swinging.

After a groundout, a hit and a walk, Bolton got right back into it, striking out her ninth batter of the day to end the fourth inning. She would throw five innings of work, allowing six hits and a walk in addition to her nine strikeouts. Jessie DiPasquale would come in relief and finish out the game, allowing two hits with a strikeout in one inning of work.

“[Bolton] started going at the batters and her ball was moving really well,” Henderson said. “She’s a totally different pitcher than she was last year. It’s about her knowing that and believing that and going out there to attack the batters instead of pitching cautiously.”

Lowell’s Giana LaCedra was excellent at keeping the Minutewomen bats at bay, throwing a complete game shutout. It was the fourth shutout of the season for UMass. LaCedra struggled last time against Rutgers when she allowed eight runs in four and two-thirds innings of work. Today she buckled down, recording seven strikeouts, a walk and allowing six hits in her seven innings.

Sarah Keagy was the only Minutewoman to finish with multiple hits, while Chloe Whittier was the only to record an extra-base hit. Whittier knocked a double off the base of the fence with two outs in the top of the seventh, giving UMass a sliver of hope in the final frame. The game, however, ended when Bella Pantoja hit a solid line drive that was caught by Lowell’s left fielder.

This was the second time that Henderson has faced off against her old team and the second consecutive year where the River Hawks had the last laugh. During the 2022 season, Lowell beat UMass 3-2. DiPasquale started that game for the Minutewomen and, like Bolton, finished with nine strikeouts.

“It was just familiar. It’s a field that I’ve been at a million times,” Henderson said.

The Minutewomen are next in action on Saturday, March 25, when they open a three-game series against Dayton with a doubleheader. This series is UMass’ second series of conference play, and it will look to get its first win in the A-10. First pitch for game one is at 12 p.m., while first pitch for game two is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jdepin101.

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