The Massachusetts softball game scheduled for this afternoon against Connecticut has been rescheduled due to cold weather conditions. The teams will make up today’s game May 1 at 4 p.m. in Storrs, Conn.
UMass resumes play this weekend when it begins a four-game homestand Friday at 3 p.m. against Fordham at Sortino Field. The teams will meet again Saturday at noon before the Minutewomen host a Sunday doubleheader against La Salle.
UMass is currently riding a four-game winning-streak following a disappointing, 3-16 start to the season.
The UMass softball team swept St. Bonaventure in its doubleheader at Sortino Field today in a close 6-4 win in the first game and 12-4 mercy-rule pounding in the second. Here are some of my thoughts:
If you missed the games, you can get stats from UMassAthletics, and also be sure to be on the lookout for my highlight reel of the games, which should be on dailycollegian.com some time tonight, as well as Kaitlin Boyer’s recap article, which should be in the paper and on the site on Monday.
More offensive explosions from the Minutewomen. Two games, 18 runs, four homers, 21 hits. Does not get much more explosive than that.
Since the team started conference play against Dayton, UMass has scored 44 runs in 5 games (8.8 runs per game), the exact same number of runs they scored in the 17 games they played in Florida and California (2.59 runs per game). If this new trend is any indication, we should be expecting more explosiveness from the UMass bats as the season goes on, which should make the season pretty fun to watch.
Caroline Raymond looked like a real No. 1 starter in the second game. She struck out six hitters, allowed only four hits and two walks, and had a no-hitter going through the first three innings. Unfortunately, one hanging curveball with two runners on is all it takes to almost make it a disaster, and that 3-run shot in the sixth by Christine Watson almost allowed the Bonnies to come back on Raymond. But Raymond kept her composure and struck out Hali Enderby right after to end the inning.
Emma Mendoker put in a solid performance of her own in the first game. She was not as dominant as Raymond, but she showed great ability to handle high pressure situations. She left 13 St. Bonaventure runners on base (to put that in perspective, the Minutewomen stranded five in that game) and only gave up four runs despite giving up seven hits and seven walks.
UMass catcher Samantha Gray got her first hit of the season with a solo shot in the second inning of the first game. That must have taken some of the pressure off, because she got another hit in the second game that drove in a run. She also made a spectacular diving catch on a pop-up bunt to end the third inning of the second game.
The defense could still use some improvement. They committed four errors behind Mendoker in the first game. Mendoker is a pitcher who primarily gets hitters out through groundouts (16 of the 18 people she got out through her six innings of work in the first game grounded out), so she needs a good infield behind her. With Taylor Carbone already at 10 errors at second base this season, Teea Rodgers at 13 at third, and Quianna Diaz-Patterson at 19 at shortstop, it is clear the defense needs to improve if Mendoker is going to succeed this season.
The Minutewomen will next be traveling to Storrs to take on UConn in a nonconference game on Tuesday. Be sure to check out the preview articles written by myself and Joey Saade, to appear in the Collegian and on the website on Tuesday.
UMass enters the game with a 3-16 record, while BC comes in with an 8-14 record.
Neither team has the best pitching, with UMass having a team ERA of 5.96 and an opposing batting average of .309, and BC having a team ERA of 6.97 and an opposing batting average of .338, so this game will probably come down to the bats.
UMass is at a slight disadvantage offensively, hitting only .221 as a team and scoring about 3.26 runs per game, while BC is currently hitting .270 and scoring about 4.68 runs per game.
The most dangerous player on the BC roster right now is junior outfielder Tory Speer, who comes into the game batting .415 with nine home runs, 19 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .908.
The Minutewomen will be hoping for more big performances at the plate from seniors Cyndil Matthew and Katie Bettencourt. Matthew went 6-for-7 with four runs scored in the Dayton series, while Bettencourt went 6-for-8 with two home runs, four runs scored and five RBIs.
BC is coming off a 4-3 extra-inning win on the road against Bryant University yesterday. Two of their three pitchers, Chelsea Dimon and Stephanie Lord, saw action in that game, so the Eagles might start their third pitcher, Andrea Filler, in this one. Filler has a 2-8 record and a 7.19 ERA in 12 appearances (This is just speculation, I do not yet know who today’s starters are).
Both of the Minutewomen’s most commonly used starters, Caroline Raymond and Emma Mendoker, took the mound in the team’s 14-12 win against Dayton last Saturday. However, since Mendoker started that one, Raymond seems the more likely candidate to start in this one. Raymond comes in with a 2-6 record and a 5.70 ERA in 13 appearances (Once again, just an educated guess. I will confirm the starters on Twitter once I know for sure).
This should hardly come as a surprise, but it was announced via a press release on the Atlantic 10 Conference’s official website on Wednesday that the Massachusetts softball team has been selected as the 2013 preseason conference favorite. The Minutewomen have claimed either the A-10 regular season or tournament championship every year since 1995 and have 23 conference titles in total.
UMass coach Elaine Sortino, for whom the UMass Softball Complex was re-named this past October, returns in 2013 for her 34th season at the team’s helm along with 13 letterwinners and seven starters, including standout left fielder Cyndil Matthew.
Matthew, an Easton All-American, set career-highs in every significant offensive category as a junior in 2012, including a .409 batting average that was good for 37th in the nation.
Here’s how the voting breaks down (2012 W-L):
Massachusetts (38-13; 19-0)
Fordham (32-26; 14-6)
George Washington (25-30 ;11-9)
Saint Joseph’s (22-29; 9-10-1)
Temple (27-22; 12-6)
Charlotte (29-26; 10-10)
Butler (25-32; 13-11 Horizon League)
Saint Louis (23-33; 9-11)
Dayton (22-29; 9-10)
St. Bonaventure (17-27; 6-14)
Rhode Island (21-32-1; 5-14)
La Salle (9-40; 3-17)
The Minutewomen are set to open their season with a double-header on Feb. 15 against LIU Brooklyn and Toledo as part of the FAU Kick-Off Classic in Boca Raton, Fla., and will later host the 2013 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship at Sortino Field on May 8-11.