April 7, 2012
Minutewomen Head West To St. Bonaventure For Easter Doubleheader
The UMass softball team (17-11, 4-0 A-10) will travel to Olean, N.Y. to face St. Bonaventure (14-12, 4-2 A-10) in their lone A-10 series of the week with a doubleheader beginning at Noon on Sunday.
Live video and stats of every UMass home game are available online at UMassAthletics.com. Additionally, live stats and a live audio broadcast are available for every road game, including the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship.
UMass has won six of its last seven games and 11 of its last 15. The Minutewomen are 3-3 in true road games and 2-0 in A-10 road games after sweeping Saint Louis (5-0, 8-0 in 5 inn) on the opening weekend. UMass has won five-straight A-10 road games and has not been swept by a league foe on the road in seven years.
The Minutewomen are the hitting .264 as a team, good for third in the A-10 this year, and boast five players raking at .260 or better. Elsewhere in the league UMass is second in on-base pct. (.355), batters hit-by-pitch (29), third in walks (74), fourth in slugging pct. (.391) and RBI (101) and fifth in runs (112).
Leading the charge are the top two in the batting order, junior OF Cyndil Matthew (.427-0-9) and freshman SS Quianna Diaz-Patterson (.326-4-22). The duo also have the two longest active hitting streaks on the squad with QDP at seven games and Matthew at four.
Senior All-America Sara Plourde is 16-9 with a 2.47 earned run average and leads the nation in strikeouts for the third-consecutive year with 280. She also has 22 complete games, five shutouts and three of her 12 career no-hitters this season. She is also hitting .375 with three HR and eight RBI since being inserted into the batting order nine games ago. She recently had a seven-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday against Boston College.
Scouting St. Bonaventure
St. Bonaventure enters the weekend at 14-12 overall, 4-2 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and riding a two-game winning streak following a home sweep of Rhode Island on Friday and Saturday. That was preceded by a pair of losses to Saint Louis on the previous weekend to open their current eight-game homestand. The Bonnies are 14-1 this season when scoring three or more runs.
The Bonnies are led on offense by catcher Brooke Frey (.382-2-9), shortstop Ashley Snider (.360-4-13) and leftfielder Jessenia Andujar (.297-2-10). Andujar hit a 3-run home run to provide the difference in Thursday's 3-1 win over Rhody, while Frey had a pair of RBIs from her leadoff spot in the 6-5 win on Saturday. In the circle, Jen Sansano (9-5, 3.12) and Diana Phalon (5-6, 2.76) lead a staff that has holding opponents to a .275 batting average. Sansano is 3-1 in her last six starts.
Series With St. Bonaventure
The Minutewomen are 45-1 all-time against the Bonnies, having won the last seven games in the series. UMass has posted 21 shutouts and held SBU hitless five times, most recently by Sara Plourde a year ago in Amherst and Brandice Balschmiter three years ago in Olean.
Last season in Amherst, UMass rode the arm of Plourde to a 1-0 win in the first game before erupting for seven runs on nine hits in a 7-1 win in the second game. Lindsey Webster and Stephanie Mayne each went deep for the Minutewomen who combined for four extra-base hits on the afternoon. Plourde struck out 30 and walked four with just one hit over the 14.0 combined innings. SBU committed four errors and were just 2-of-47 (.043) at the plate.
This will be the first visit to Olean for UMass since 2008. The two-game set during the 2010 season was cancelled due to a rain/snow mix that hit the southwestern New York area in mid-April.
And Then There Were Two
Entering the week, there were four teams still unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play but through the end of Saturday, only UMass and Fordham are still perfect on the diamond. UMass is the only school to have completed the regular-season undefeated, having done so eight times in the 29-year history of A-10 softball. The last occurance came two seasons ago with a 17-0-1 mark.
UMass Bat/Ball & Stick/Ball Sports Dominating Conference Play
While the UMass softball team has a 4-0 mark in Atlantic 10 play thus far, some other spring sports are dominating their league competition as well. Entering Sunday's play SBU, UMass softball, men's lacrosse (3-0 in CAA), women's lacrosse (3-0 in A-10) and baseball (5-1 in A-10) are a combined 15-1 in conference play.
Matthew Near The Top Of Atlantic 10 Rankings
UMass junior OF Cyndil Matthew has been on a tear this season. She entered the week leading the A-10 in batting avg. (.427) and hits (38), ranked second in runs (26) and steals (16), and third in on-base pct. (.488).
She also leads the team with 12 multi-hit games and has collected a career-high four hits against Maryland (3/2) and Chattanooga (3/17) this season.
`Q' Delivers In The Clutch
There's no denying the impact Quianna Diaz-Patterson has made on the UMass team this season. The freshman from Amherst Regional HS has stepped right in and produced form the get-go. She has started all 28 games at shortstop and currently is tied for or leads the team in RBI (22), doubles (9), triples (1), home runs (4) and slugging pct (.568). Of her 22 RBI, 15 have come with 2 outs.
Plourde Selected Ninth In National Pro Fastpitch Draft
UMass senior Sara Plourde was selected ninth overall by the Carolina Diamonds in the 2012 National Pro Fastpitch Draft on March 8.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Hermitage, Tenn. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL).
Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete is not eligible to sign with their respective franchise until her 2012 season is completed.
A-10 Game Officials Honor Nick Cinquanto
The Atlantic 10 Conference softball umpires and women's basketball officials will honor former coordinator and observer Nick Cinquanto by wearing a commemorative black patch during A-10 games this season. Cinquanto passed away Sunday, January 22.
Cinquanto, who served as the Conference's Coordinator of Soccer and Softball Officials and as a women's basketball officials observer, spent 20 years in various capacities with the Atlantic 10. He began his career with the league evaluating officials in 1988.