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 splits midweek series with Marist

Minutewomen win second game with Taylor Richardson walk off homer
Kalina Kornacki/ Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts softball team won its second game of Wednesday’s double header with a walk off home run from Taylor Richardson. The 6-5 win against Marist followed a 9-3 loss earlier in the afternoon.

The Minutewomen (12-22, 3-8 Atlantic 10) had even hitting across the board with 11 hits in the second matchup against the Red Foxes (17-20, 5-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference). In addition to her home run, Richardson had another hit earlier in the game and two RBI. Abby Lamson and Bella Pantoja led the pack after Richardson with three hits and one RBI each.

The game started off sloppy with three errors in three innings, but the Minutewomen turned their luck around offensively. Their mistakes early on didn’t define their defense for the remainder of the game, with only one error in the final six frames.

“I would have liked our defense to be better in both games, that part we got to clean up, but hitting, I thought people came up when runners were in scoring position and did their job,” head coach Danielle Henderson said.

The top of the fourth inning looked wary for the Minutewomen as Marist scored three runs to go up 4-3, but starting pitcher Natalee Horton cleaned up the inning with a strikeout. Horton finished the game with seven strikeouts in seven innings pitched, along with three walks and three earned runs.

“I thought she did well,” Henderson said of Horton’s performance. “They didn’t hit the ball hard off of her. It wasn’t until later they hit a line drive and hit it well.”

In game one, UMass jumped out to an early 2-1 lead in the first inning of after a two run home run off the bat of Chloe Whittier, her second of the season. Despite the early lead for the Minutewomen, the offense from Marist proved to be too much to handle for UMass, as the Red Foxes went on to score eight unanswered runs. The only other run for the Minutewomen came in the bottom of the sixth inning after a fielding error by Marist allowed Jules Shields to touch home.

On top of Whittier’s home run, she added a single and a walk to her batting line. Besides Whittier, the Minutewomen bats went quiet for a large portion of the game, although that was not the only reason for their downfall in Wednesday’s matinee.

“She hits the ball hard. She’s been hitting the ball well and consistently. I think she’s an important part to [the lineup],” Henderson said of Whittier.

Marist starter Calista Phippen pitched a seven-inning complete game of three run ball while giving up five hits, four walks and striking out four. Conversely, UMass starting pitcher Julianne Bolton struggled in the contest, tossing 4.1 innings while giving up seven runs, 10 hits, two walks and one strikeout, dropping her record to 3-9 and increasing her ERA to 5.07.

A bright spot for the Minutewomen was Jenna Bradley’s relief appearance. Bradley came in the game for 2.2 innings, giving up no earned runs (two unearned), two hits, no walks and two strikeouts. Bradley’s performance dropped her ERA to 5.83 on the year.

“[Bradley’s] had a little injury, so this was her first time back on the mound. She’s going to build her strength back from it, but she’s going to be able to go out there and do well for us,” Henderson said.

UMass is next in action on Saturday, April 15, taking on Saint Bonaventure. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for 12 p.m. from Sortino Field, followed by a 2 p.m. start for game two.

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

Eli Weisberger can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Ealchek.

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