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 softball powers passed Fordham in quest for Atlantic 10 title

Minutewomen’s power hitting carries them to victory
Devin Lippman
Bella Pantoja throws the ball at Sortino Field on 4/7/24.

The Massachusetts softball team beat the Fordham Rams, 8-4, in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament on Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx, New York.

To kick off postseason play, the Minutewomen (19-33, 14-12 A-10) offense was cruising as they hammered four home runs in the game. Two of them came from Sarah Keagy for a team-high 13th and 14th of the season. Keagy also had five RBIs in the game, showing why she was named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team alongside Chloe Whittier. Every UMass score resulted from a home run.

Pitcher Julianne Bolton continued her strong season as well, tossing her 14th complete game of the season as she struck out four batters on 108 pitches.

“[Bolton’s] ball was moving,” said head coach Danielle Henderson. “She was able to keep [the Rams] off balance. All of her stuff was spinning and breaking and she just attacked them all game.”

After the Minutewomen pushed the Fordham (25-28-1, 15-11 A-10) starter out early, making Devon Miller throw 80 pitches after only three innings, the offense started to come alive in the fourth inning. After walks from Payge Suggs and Whittier, Keagy brought them in with a three-run monster shot to push the lead up to 5-1 for UMass.

“Sarah [Keagy] was brought here because she is a good hitter,” said Henderson. “She has been attacking pitches in different parts of the zone and going up there a lot more aggressive at the plate.”

The Rams had something to say in the bottom of the fourth as they came back with two runs of their own with an Eva Koratsis single that brought in Michaela Carter and Nicki Sudall.

The Minutewomen put the game away in the fifth inning with a three-run inning that pushed their lead to 8-3. Jordyn Graime started the inning with her first home run of the season, wrapping the ball around the left field pole. Suggs followed with a single through the right side of the field. She did not stay on base for long as Whittier smacked a two-run homer to left field, giving Suggs her second run of the game.

“[Keagy and Whittier] showed consistent play and veteran leadership all season long,” Henderson said. “Sarah [Keagy] puts her passion into the game every day and Chloe [Whittier] has been our vocal leader, putting her heart into it as well. I think that has really helped our team.”

The Rams attempted to rally again in the bottom of the fifth but struggled to capitalize with runners at first and third, coming out of the inning with only one run coming from a sacrifice fly from Sudall, bringing in Neleh Nogay.

The Minutewomen hope to keep their conference title hopes alive as they will face the top-seeded Dayton Flyers in the second round of the tournament on Thursday. UMass won one of the three games against Dayton earlier this season, with the sole win coming in extra innings in a 6-5 home victory. First pitch is at noon.

“Everything right now is to win and advance,” said Henderson. “It does not matter how you do it. If we play like we did today against Dayton, we will be in good shape.”

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

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