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Sara Plourde Enters Coaching Ranks At Lafayette

Former Massachusetts softball All-America Sara Plourde has been hired at Lafayette as an assistant coach. The 2012 UMass graduate was named to head coach Jexx Varner's staff on Wednesday. She joins a group of more than a dozen former Minutewomen who played or coached under Elaine Sortino that are now in the college coaching ranks.

Click the link below for the complete announcement from Lafayette...

Plourde signs with new NY/NJ pro team

Former UMass All-American softball standout Sara Plourde (@s_pizz10will be playing her professional softball closer to home this season. After a year playing with the Carolina Diamonds in the National Pro Fastpitch league, the franchise is moving to the New York/New Jersey area. Plourde's contract was picked up by the NY/NJ Comets during the transition, so the UMass grad will be playing softball in the northeast once again.

Paul Angilly of the Bristol Press wrote about the move here in Tuesday's paper.

The National Pro Fastpitch softball league, the highest level of professional competition in the sport in this country, recently announced that a new team, the NY/NJ Comets, will play its home games in New Jersey and New York this season, plus a two game "outreach" series in Pennsylvania.

NCAA Softball Regional Previews

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UMass opens play in the 2012 NCAA Softball Regional today at University Field in Columbia, Mo. against DePaul. The Minutewomen bring a 22-game winning streak into the tourney and are playing away from Amherst for the first time since 2005. Don't forget to tune in to UMassAthletics.com for a live video and audio broadcast of the games this weekend for free. Here are a few previews from newspapers in Massachusetts on the team's preparations.


Minutewomen look to stay hot at BC

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The Daily Collegian has a preview on today's game at Boston College. UMass will look for a season sweep of the Eagles when they meet up at Shea Field in Chestnut Hill. First pitch is at 4 pm and the game can be heard online at UMassAthletics.com.

After showing signs of inconsistency at the beginning of the season, the Massachusetts softball team appears to be getting hot at the right time.

Plourde has been on top of her game as of late, posting six shutouts in that stretch to go along with three no-hitters and a perfect game. Arguably her most significant improvement is the fact that she has only issued 39 walks, helping minimize her ERA to 2.14.

Read the entire article by clicking here.
Wednesday was a day of celebration out at the UMass Softball Complex. After a one-day delay, the 2012 home opener went off without a hitch as the Minutewomen defeated Quinnipiac 1-0. Senior pitcher Sara Plourde established herself as the strikeout queen of UMass softball by becoming the school's career strikeout leader, surpassing Danielle Henderson's mark of 1,343 strikeouts. Oh, and SP also tossed her fourth no-hitter of the season in the process. Just a reminder that UMass hosts Dayton this weekend with single games on Friday at 3 pm and Saturday at Noon.

Daily Collegian Season Previews - Softball

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The Daily Collegian's annual Baseball/Softball Preview issue hit newsstands on Monday and here are the softball articles compiled by writers Nick Canelas, Stephen Hewitt and David Martin.


College Softball Weekend Preview

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Graham Hays of ESPN.com has his weekly preview of softball around the country and has a couple of UMass mentions. He has Saturday's game at No. 1 Alabama listed in his Games to Watch This Weekend and in his Player of the Year sidebar, mentions UMass senior right-hander Sara Plourde. In saying her stock is rising, he references her strong game against No. 12 Michigan last weekend when she struck out 16 in leading the Minutewomen to a 1-0 victory. He goes on to mention her 16 Ks in his By the Numbers segment.

Alabama has already faced some good mid-major pitching this season, including North Dakota State's Whitney Johnson, Memphis' Carly Hummel and Lipscomb's Whitney Kiihnl, but UMass ace Sara Plourde is as good a power pitcher as they will face all season, in or out of conference.

Stock up: There were some special pitching performances in Cathedral City, but one of the best of the weekend came on the other side of the country in the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Florida. Pitching her second game of the day, Plourde allowed just two hits and struck out 16 in a 1-0 win against Michigan. The senior's overall numbers are still modest for a mid-major award hopeful (4-4, 2.17 ERA), but 83 strikeouts in 51.2 innings will keep her in the debate.

16: Massachusetts senior pitcher Sara Plourde struck out a season-high 16 batters in a 1-0 win against Michigan Friday, making it the first time the Wolverines had been shut out since a May 27, 2010 super regional loss to Tennessee. Plourde showed no letup in her next start, striking out 15 in a no-hitter against Georgia Tech.

Minutewomen In Action With Brakettes

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Well the Stratford Brakettes softball team is up to its old tricks again, posting a 55-0 record so far this summer with the season winding down to the Women's Major Softball National Championship on Aug. 4-7.

This year's squad features three former Minutewomen, Brandice Balschmiter, Denise Denis, and Carly Normandin, and one current player, two-time All-American Sara Plourde.

The Brakettes swept a pair of doubleheaders over the weekend from the Rhode Island Thunder, 2-0 and 6-0 on Saturday, and 16-0 and 11-0 on Sunday.

Balschmiter picked up a win each on Saturday and Sunday, while Denis and Normandin each homered in game one on Sunday.

Plourde Gets 1,000th K, Softball Tops BU, 3-2

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It was a historic day at the UMass Softball Complex on Wednesday as junior pitcher Sara Plourde, with a 14-strikeout three-hitter, led UMass to a 3-2 win over Boston University and recorded the 1,000th strikeout of her career. She is just the third pitcher in UMass history to reach the mark, joining Danielle Henderson and Brandice Balschmiter, and the first to do it prior to her senior season.

  • Daily Collegian: Plourde becomes 3rd Minutewoman to reach 1,000 strikeouts
  • Daily Collegian: Minutewomen win behind Plourde & Matthew
  • Hampshire Gazette: Sara Plourde reaches 1,000 career strikeouts
  • Softball Shuts Out UConn On The Road, 2-0

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    The Minutewomen travelled to Storrs, Conn. on Wednesday and shut out the Huskies, 2-0. Stephanie Mayne hit a two-run home run in the third inning to account for all the scoring, while Sara Plourde pitched her eighth shutout of the season with a three-hitter. Playing in her home state, she struck out 13 batters, including the final three of the game with two runners on base. Below are recaps of the game.

  • Minutewomen's Streak Hits 9, Steve Levine, Daily Collegian
  • Minutewomen Softball Blanks UConn, Hampshire Gazette
  • Bristol Pair Have UMass On Upswing (with video), Paul Angilly, Bristol Press
  • UMass Edges Huskies By A 2-0 Count, The Hour

    The Minutewomen return home to host Fairfield today at 5 p.m., kicking off a 12-game homestand at the UMass Softball Complex.

  • Collegian Wrap On Softball Victory

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    Pete Vasquez of the Daily Collegian has a recap of Friday's softball win at Dayton, 9-1. Sara Plourde struck out 17 in a three-hitter, and Meghan Carta and Stephanie Mayne hit back-to-back home runs, Carta's being her second grand slam of the season. The Minutewomen have won eight in a row.

    This week will be a busy one for the softball team. It travels to Storrs on Wednesday to face UConn before returning home for five-straight to close the week. On Thursday, The Minutewomen host Fairfield, on Friday it's a doubleheader against Syracuse, and on Sunday, George Washington comes to the UMass Softball Complex for an Atlantic 10 twinbill.

    Lots Of Honors At Today's UMass Sports Luncheon

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    Senior Cerie Mosgrove of the women's basketball team and senior Sean Busch of the men's track & field squad have been named the 2011 UMass Winter Scholar-Athletes. The duo will be honored at the UMass Sports Luncheon today, Apr. 6, at Room 1009 of the Campus Center at 12:15 p.m. Also, the UMass Athletes of the Week will be recognized: Sara Plourde of the softball team, who was also named the National Player of the Week and Katie Ferris of the women's lacrosse squad, who tallied 12 points in two wins for No. 11 UMass.

    Softball Coverage After Home-Opening Sweep

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    The UMass softball team opened up their home schedule in style on Wednesday, sweeping a doubleheader from Dartmouth, 1-0 and 6-2. Sara Plourde and Caroline Raymond combined to hold the Big Green hitless through the first 12 innings of play. Check out the coverage of the two wins below.

  • Plourde Pitches Not-Hitter, Leads Minutewomen To Doubleheader Sweep, Matt Vautour, Hampshire Gazette
  • Plourde Throws A No-No As UMass Sweeps Big Green, Stephen Hewitt, Daily Collegian
  • UM Finds Other Ways Besides Long Ball To Generate Offense, Michael Wood, Daily Collegian
  • UMass Softball Sweeps Dartmouth, WWLP.com
  • Softball Fails To Muster Offense In Doubleheader Loss At UMass, Olivia Durr, TheDartmouth.com
  • UMassAthletics.com Photo Gallery, Thom Kendall
  • MassLive.com Photo Gallery, J. Anthony Roberts

  • Softball Stories From Friday's Collegian

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    Steve Levine of the Daily Collegian has a preview of this weekend's softball games at Temple and Saint Joseph's. He points out that the Minutewomen, winners of five out their last seven, have played better as of late, but have areas that need to be improved upon as conference play continues.

    Michael Wood of the Daily Collegian has a feature on senior first baseman Audrey Boutin. The story focuses on how the Bristol, Conn. native is a key member to the offense in 2011, and after a slow start, has caught fire as of late, batting .417 with nine RBIs in the last seven games.

    Softball Coverage In Daily Collegian

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    Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
    With Atlantic 10 Conference play just underway and the home opener on the horizon, the Daily Collegian released its annual Baseball/Softball Issue on Wednesday with extensive coverage of both squads. Check out the links below to all of the softball coverage in today's issue.

  • Podcast: Softball Running The A-10, Nick O'Malley
  • Winning Culture Challenged For 2011 Minutewomen, Pete Vasquez
  • New Idea Of Success, Steve Levine
  • Youth, Speed, Pitching Dictate Minutewomen's 2011 Roster, Mike Wood
  • Minutewomen Relying On Raymond & Webster To Help Plourde, Stephen Hewitt
  • After Tough Start, UMass Finds Win Column, Stephen Hewitt, March 20
  • Softball Round-Up From Last Weekend

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    The softball team went 2-3 last weekend in the season-opening FAU Kickoff Classic, making it to the tournament's championship game. Below are recaps from the weekend.

  • Minutewomen Fall To Michigan In FAU Kickoff Classic, Daily Collegian
  • Plourde Leads UMass In Season Opening Win, Hampshire Gazette
  • Softball Opens In Florida, Hampshire Gazette
  • In Case You Are Wondering, Plourde Can Still Pitch, Hampshire Gazette
  • Minutewomen Fall To Michigan In Kickoff Finals, UMassAthletics.com
  • Bettencourt's Blast Leads UMass Past FAU, UMassAthletics.com
  • Softball Falls To Michigan, 3-0, UMassAthletics.com
  • Softball Splits On Opening Day, UMassAthletics.com
  • Bristol Press: Plourde One To Watch

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    Paul Angilly of the of Bristol Press in Connecticut has a story on softball pitcher Sara Plourde as she prepares for the 2011 season that begins on Feb. 18 in Boca Raton, Fla. The story points out how Plourde was named to the National Player of the Year Watch List, is fully recovered from a hip injury suffered at the end of last season, and will be joined by two freshmen additions to the pitching staff. Angilly also points out that fellow Bristol native Audrey Boutin goes into her senior season as a leading candidate to help lead the Minutewomen's offensive attack.
    ESPN.com softball expert Graham Hays named UMass as his sleeper to reach the NCAA Super Regionals in his softball blog.

    Hays says, "With Plourde (1.30 ERA, 556 strikeouts) healthy, the lineup should have time to find its rhythm on the road to the NCAA tournament."

    Hays went on to name fellow A-10 school Fordham as a sleeper to reach the Women's College World Series, and Missouri as a sleeper to win the National Championship.

    Happy Birthday: Jan. 27 - Sara Plourde

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    Sara Plourde
    Happy Birthday to All-American softball pitcher Sara Plourde on Jan. 27! The 2010 A-10 Pitcher of the Year and NCAA strikeouts and wins leader turns the Big 2-1 today!

    Bristol Press Updates Sara Plourde's Health

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    The injury Sara Plourde received during the UMass run in Division I post-season play in May, a stress fracture of the hip, has taken her off the playing field this summer. She's been advised by her doctor to use crutches and to keep weight off her leg. She'll get an X-ray on Monday to see how she's doing. The Bristol Press has an update. "I'll definitely be back for next season," she said, "without a doubt."

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