UMass Opens 40th Season At NFCA Leadoff Classic
Feb. 20, 2014
A week after not being able to travel due to canceled flights along the East Coast, the Massachusetts softball will head down to Florida for the NFCA Leadoff Classic this weekend.
The Minutewomen will open their season on Friday against DePaul and Charleston. Saturday's games will be against Rutgers and Connecticut - the first of three scheduled meetings with the Huskies - and Sunday's action will wrap up with Hofstra.
All five games will take place at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Fla. The Moore Complex features nine field over three complexes, so fans will want to double check which field the Minutewomen are scheduled to play each game. A detailed map can be downloaded at http://usfseries.com/eddie-c-moore-complex.php. Friday, 12 p.m. vs DePaul, Field 3 Friday, 2:30 p.m. vs Charleston Field 3 Saturday, 2:30 p.m. vs Rutgers, Field 2 Saturday, 5 p.m. vs UConn, Field 2 Sunday, 11 a.m. vs Hofstra, Field 3
Massachusetts returns 14 letterwinners and five starters from a year ago, while adding six freshmen. A group of five seniors will lead the first UMass squad following the passing of 2004 NFCA Hall of Fame Inductee Elaine Sortino. Senior Caroline Raymond went 15-14 in the circle with a 3.97 ERA last season in her first injury-free campaign in Amherst. Other honors candidates include all-Atlantic 10 first baseman senior Tiffany Meeks, who hit .357 with team highs in doubles (11), home runs (9) and RBI (40); junior shortstop Quianna Diaz-Patterson is the leading returning hitter with a .357 average, to go along with her team-high four triples and 23 walks.
The Minutewomen are entering their first season under the direction of longtime assistant and current interim head coach Kristi Stefanoni. Other new members of the coaching staff include 1999 Honda Award winner at UMass & 2000 US Olympian Danielle Henderson and former Alabama all-American Staci Ramsey.
DePaul - Tied 2-2
Charleston - First Meeting
Rutgers - UMass leads 39-17
UConn - UMass leads 47-41-1
Hofstra - Hofstra leads 11-8
NFCA LEADOFF HISTORY
UMass is participating in the NFCA Leadoff Classic for the 16th time since 1996. Their first 13 showings came in Columbus, Ga. before the last two events in Clearwater, Fla. The Minutewomen are 33-40 all-time in the event.