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

Softball Notebook: UMass softball loses to Saint Louis in Atlantic 10 semifinals

Late rally from the Minutewomen is not enough to get them over the hump

The season has come to an end for the Massachusetts softball team as it was eliminated from the Atlantic 10 Tournament on Friday afternoon in the Bronx, losing 5-3 to the second-seeded Saint Louis Billikens.

The Minutewomen (20-35, 14-12 A-10) struggled early offensively, unable to figure out the Billikens’ (30-21, 15-10 A-10) freshman pitcher Isabel Royle. The recently named A-10 Rookie of the Year utilized many off-speed pitches to keep UMass on its toes, making its offense uncomfortable early on. The Minutewomen defense kept the game close, as despite being down five runs after three innings, the team held Saint Louis scoreless from the fourth inning onward.

The Billikens took command of the game with a four-run third inning, starting with an RBI single from Jane Kaniecki that sent in Natalie Sullivan. Kelsey Etling followed with a single to right-center field, and after a missed throw to third base by UMass right fielder Payge Suggs, Kaniecki scored from first and pushed Etling to third base. Capping off the scoring for Saint Louis, Chloe Rhine smacked a two-RBI double to right-center field, bringing in Cami Newbanks and Etling.

The Minutewomen responded late in the sixth inning, loading up the bases which started a rally. Bella Pantoja began the run with a single to left field followed by Lydia Castro reaching on a fielder’s choice, which got Pantoja out at second base. After Sarah Keagy fought off pitches for a walk, pinch hitter Jenna Bradley stepped up and hit a single up the middle that loaded the bases. The first run of the game for UMass came off a Grace Cadden RBI single that flew right past the pitcher, scoring pinch runner Giana Wameling. Taylor Richardson scored the second run of the inning for the Minutewomen after a throwing error prevented Saint Louis from getting the final out of the inning, cutting the Billikens lead to 5-2.

A one-hour rain delay did not stop UMass, as it put runners on once again in the final inning with two singles from Chloe Whittier and Pantoja. Assisted by a second throwing error from Saint Louis, Whittier raced home from second base which cut the lead even further. Whittier’s score was the last run of the season for the Minutewomen, as after a fielder’s choice and a line-out to right field by Cadden, UMass’ underdog run in the A-10 tournament was over.

Neither team’s bats saw consistent success Thursday, as both teams combined for just 13 hits. Pantoja was the only Minutewoman who recorded multiple hits, while Etling and Kaniecki were the only two to do so for the Billikens. Both starting pitchers recorded complete games, but Whittier outshone UMass’ Natalee Horton, who struggled with her control throughout.

The Minutewomen now head into the offseason with some decisions to make after going 2-2 in the A-10 tournament and reaching the semifinals. With this game potentially being the last for eight seniors, UMass could look completely different next year. Head coach Danielle Henderson finished her third season leading the charge with her second appearance in the A-10 Tournament. Keagy led the way for the Minutewomen this season offensively with a team-high 12 home runs and 38 RBIs. Whittier led the team with a .325 batting average, while Julianne Bolton was a leader on the pitching staff with a career-low 4.50 ERA and 124 strikeouts.

Benito Marinero-Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected] and followed on X @bmrodriguez12.

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