Softball Travels To Boston College Wednesday, Dayton For Weekend Set
April 12, 2011
AMHERST, Mass. -
WEEKLY NOTES: UMASS TRAVELS TO BOSTON COLLEGE WEDNESDAY, DAYTON FOR WEEKEND SET
The UMass softball team (16-14, 7-3 A-10) will look to continue its seven-game winning streak when the Minutewomen head back on the road for a matchup with Boston College on Wednesday at 4 PM before traveling to Dayton for a two-game set on Friday and Saturday. Massachusetts is 9-1 in its last ten games after starting off 6-0 at the UMass Softball Complex.
Free live stats will also be available at UMassAthletics.com by clicking on the GameTracker links. Live audio of all three games will be available on UMassAthletics.com via SportsJuice.
Junior pitcher Sara Plourde became just the third UMass pitcher to reach 900 career strikeouts last weekend with 30 K's against Saint Bonaventure. Plourde is the first to reach the 900 strikeout plateau during her junior season. She had a school-record streak of 30 1/3 no-hit innings streak at home snapped with a two out single in the sixth inning of game two against the Bonnies.
Head Coach Elaine Sortino is in her 32nd season leading UMass. She has won 1,116 games in her career after entering 2011 with exactly 1,100. The 2004 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee ranks fifth among active Division I head coaches in wins and has a career winning percentage of .706 (1,116-465-6).
MINUTEWOMEN ADD MID-WEEK GAME:
A mid-week non-conference game has been added to the UMass schedule. On Thursday, April 21, the Minutewomen will host Fairfield in a 5 p.m. game at the UMass Softball Complex. It will be UMass' first home contest following Sunday's doubleheader against the Bonnies and will kick off a crucial 11-game homestand. The Minutewomen will host six conference games in that stretch, including a pair with A-10 runner-up from a season ago, Fordham.
It will be UMass' first ever meeting with Fairfield on the softball diamond.
SCOUTING BOSTON COLLEGE:
Wednesday will be the first of two meetings with the Eagles this season, with the second coming on May 4 at the UMass Softball Complex. The Minutewomen are 44-4 all-time against Boston College, and have won the last 13 games against the Eagles dating back to the 2004 season.
The Eagles enter the game with UMass with a 10-22 record overall and are 5-6 in the ACC. Boston College is coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of Maryland, including a 4-3 loss on Sunday in ten innings.
Leading the Eagles at the plate this season are Tory Speer and Brittany Wilkins, who are batting .340 and .337, respectively. Wilkins has blasted 11 homeruns, knocked in 27 runs, and has a .752 slugging percentage, all team highs, while Speer has done deep seven times during the season and has driven in 26 runs.
Boston College has used four pitchers in the circle this season, led by Allison Gage's 97 innings pitched. Gage has a 4-9 record in 2011 with a .397 earned run average.
Massachusetts will catch Dayton in the middle of a six-game week, beginning with Morehead State on Wednesday. UMass is 26-3 all-time against the Flyers, including a two-game sweep in Amherst last season.
Dayton snapped a three-game losing streak last weekend with a 4-0 win over Saint Louis on the road, and is 13-19 this season with an even 5-5 mark in the Atlantic 10.
Lauren Nacke leads the Flyers this season with a .371 average with 10 homeruns and 30 RBI. The junior holds the Dayton record for career homeruns (27).
Sarah Wedal and Alysha Isaacson have split pitching duties for Dayton this season. Wedel has appeared in 19 games, starting 12, and has a 3.86 ERA in 70.2 innings pitched. Isaacson leads all Flyer pitchers in wins this season with eight to go along with a 4.03 earned run average in just over 90 innings pitched.
MASSACHUSETTS SWEEPS SAINT BONAVENTURE:
Sara Plourde allowed just two hits in 14 innings, including a game-one no-hitter, her third in a row at home, and struck out 30 batters in UMass softball's (16-14, 7-3 A-10) doubleheader sweep of St. Bonaventure (8-13, 5-7 A-10) by scores of 1-0 and 7-1 on Sunday afternoon at the UMass Softball Complex. The junior held the Bonnies without a hit for the first 12 2/3 innings of the day, running her no-hit innings streak at home to 30 1/3 frames before it was snapped with a two out single in the sixth inning of game two. Lindsey Webster and Stephanie Mayne each hit two-run home runs in the second game after Teea Rogers drove in the lone run of game one.
With her 30 strikeouts on the day, Plourde (14-10) ran her career total to 905, becoming just the third pitcher in program history to reach the 900-strikeout mark, joining Danielle Henderson (1,343) and Brandice Balschmiter (1,218) and is the first to reach the plateau prior to her senior season.
Her game one no-hitter, in which she fanned 15 and walked three, was Plourde's third of the season, all at home, eighth solo no-hitter of her career and ninth total. The Bristol, Conn. native struck out another 15 batters in game two, allowing one unearned run on two hits and one walk.
Webster and Mayne each hit two-run home runs down the left field line in the bottom of the fifth inning to open up a 6-0 lead for the Minutewomen in game two. After a one-out double by Kyllie Magill, Webster hit the 2-1 pitch into the netting beyond the left field fence for her team-leading fourth round-tripper of the season. A two-out walk to Audrey Boutin set up Mayne's blast just inside the left field foul pole on a 0-2 pitch for her second homer of the season.
The Minutewomen have a 196-17-1 record, including 6-0 this season, at the UMass Softball Complex, which opened in 2000, for a .918 winning percentage.
In the Atlantic 10, UMass dominates, holding a 103-5 (.954) regular season record at home. In the 13 A-10 Tournament games hosted in Amherst, 11 have gone in UMass' win column.
UMass' offense explodes at home, as the Minutewomen boast a .290 batting average coming into the year at the UM Softball Complex, while holding their opponents to a .058 batting average.
In 2010, UMass was 17-1, batting .309 at home and averaging 5.56 runs/game. The Minutewomen held the opposition to a .153 average and 1.39 runs/game.
UMass had a 54-game regular season home winning streak that went from April 9, 2006 to May 3, 2009. In 2010, UMass is a perfect 13-0 at home this season.
CLIMBING THE CONFERENCE STANDINGS:
The Minutewomen (7-3) are currently tied with Saint Joseph's (7-3) for third place in the A-10 standings, trailing just behind Charlotte (6-2) for second. Fordham currently holds the top spot in the conference with a 9-3 mark.
PLOURDE-ING IT ON:
Junior pitcher Sara Plourde was named NFCA National Player of the Week last week after being literally unhittable as she did not allow a single hit in 17.2 innings pitched en route to posting a 3-0 record with one save. Plourde struck out 39 batters over the four appearances averaging more than two strikeouts per inning. The Bristol, Conn., native threw two no-hitters on the week picking up the first in a 1-0 victory over Dartmouth followed by 7.0 hitless innings in a 4-0 win over Saint Louis. She recorded 16 strikeouts in each of her two no-hitters. Plourde also made two relief appearances; striking out four in two no-hit innings in a 6-2 win in game two over Dartmouth to register her first career save. She then fanned three in 1.2 innings to pick-up the victory in a 4-3 win in game two against Saint Louis. Her streak of 17.2 hitless innings broke a 28-year old school record.
Plourde saw her school-record consecutive no-hit innings streak come to an end on Wednesday at 18 2/3 after a double in the second inning by Brittany Clendenny. Plourde did not allow a hit at home this season through 30 1/3 innings pitched until the top of the sixth inning against Saint Bonaventure in game two of the weekend doubleheader.
Plourde struckout 30 Bonnie batter to reach 905 career punch outs. She is just the third UMass pitcher to ever reach 900 Ks, joining Danielle Henderson (1,343) and Brandice Balschmiter (1,218). Plourde is also the first of the three to reach the plateau in her junior season.
The All-American has continued her dominating form in 2011, striking out 282 batters in 164 1/3 innings pitched. She has a 1.41 ERA and opponents are hitting just .139 against her. She ranked fourth in the NCAA in both strikeouts and strikeouts per seven innings (11.4) last week.
Plourde established herself as one of the nation's top pitchers in 2010, posting a 40-8 record with a 1.30 ERA.
Plourde led the country in strikeouts in 2010 with 556, the highest single-season total in UMass history and ninth-highest in NCAA history. She broke Danielle Henderson's old mark of 465 by 91 Ks.
Plourde also led the country in strikeouts per seven innings (12.5) and tied National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie of Washington for the nation's lead in wins (40). She broke Brandice Balschmiter's UMass single-season wins record of 35.
Plourde garnered countless honors in 2010, including NFCA All-American, NFCA All-Region, A-10 Pitcher of the Year, ECAC Pitcher of the Year, A-10 All-Conference, ECAC All-Star, A-10 All-Championship Team, and was named A-10 Pitcher of the Week six times.
MAGILL'S BAT COMES TO LIFE:
Junior second baseman Kyllie Magill leads the team in both RBIs (18) and runs scored (17), while batting .298 on the season. She is also 7-of-8 in stolen base attempts.
In the last 10 games, Magill is batting .405 with 15 hits, nine RBI and two stolen bases. The Minutewomen are 9-1 in those games.
In four games at Temple and St. Joe's (3/26-27), Magill went 9-16 (.563) at the plate, driving in three runs. She led the team that weekend with 11 total bases, .688 slugging percentage and .588 on base percentage.
Magill is a two-time Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second-Teamer at second base, batting over .300 as a freshman and a sophomore.
BOUTIN BLASTS OFF:
After a slow start to the season, senior first baseman Audrey Boutin has caught fire as of late, batting .462 (12-26) over the last 10 games in which she has led the Minutewomen to an 9-1 record. Boutin is slugging .577 in that span
In the first six home games, Boutin batted .311 (7-for-16) with three doubles.
Boutin went 5-12 in four total games at Temple and St. Joe's with five RBI, and was an offensive force at the USF Under Armour Showcase, batting .474 (9-19) with eight RBIs in five games.
She hit a second-inning solo home run to account for the game's only run in UMass' A-10-opening 1-0 victory at Charlotte on March 18.
WEBSTER MAKES FIRST IMPRESSION:
Freshman pitcher/outfielder Lindsey Webster has taken advantage of her early season opportunities. The Northridge, Calif. product has started the last 19 games and has vaulted to the second highest batting average on the team with a .310 mark (18-58).
Webster leads the team in home runs with four, ranks second in runs scored (16), and second in RBIs (14).
She ignited a four-run inning against Saint Bonaventure with a two-run shot to left field in the 5th inning of game two on Sunday.
She blasted a dramatic two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game as UMass went on to win in extra innings at St. Joe's (3/27).
Webster had her break-out performance on March 11 against Toledo in Tampa when she went 4-for-5 with a double, three runs scored, and one RBI. She hit .615 (8-13) with nine runs scored in five games at the USF Under Armour Showcase on Mar. 11-13.
In the circle, Webster is 0-3 with a 3.85 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched. She held Tulsa to one run through eight innings in her collegiate debut before falling 3-1 in nine innings.
MAYNE IGNITES OFFENSE AT HOME:
Redshirt junior designated player Stephanie Mayne has ignited the UMass offense in its first six games at home this season. The North Reading, Mass. native is batting .462 (6-for-13) at the UMass Softball Complex this season with two home runs and seven RBIs.
In game two of a doubleheader with Saint Bonaventure on Sunday, Mayne went 2-for-3 at the dish with four RBIs, including a homerun into the scoreboard in left field in the fifth inning to cap-off a four-run fifth inning en route to a 7-1 win over the Bonnies.
She belted her first career home run in a 4-0 win over Saint Louis on April 3 that began a three-run fifth inning. She is batting .389 (7-for-18) in her last 10 games, the third-highest average on the team in that span.
#1 IN A-10 PRESEASON POLL:
UMass has been predicted to win the 2011 Atlantic 10 Championship in polling of the conference coaches. Head Coach Elaine Sortino's Minutewomen have won the last six A-10 titles, 15 of the last 16, and 22 overall. Fordham, the 2010 runner-up, was predicted second, and Charlotte came in third.
Saint Joseph's was predicted fourth, followed by Saint Louis, Temple, Rhode Island, Dayton, St. Bonaventure, La Salle, and George Washington.
The six-team, double-elimination A-10 Championship will be held May 11-14 at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte's 49ers Softball Diamond in Charlotte, N.C.
FACING THE NATION'S BEST:
Massachusetts began the 2011 season with six of the team's first 10 games against nationally ranked opponents.
In those six games, the Minutewomen have squared off four times against teams ranked in the top 11 or better. UMass dropped two games to No. 11 Michigan, 3-0 and 5-1 in the opening weekend at the FAU Kickoff Classic before dropping a 9-2 decision at the hands of No. 7 Washington and a 3-0 game to No. 11 Texas at the Cathedral City Classic on Feb. 25-27.
THE NATION IS WATCHING:
The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America has named UMass junior pitcher Sara Plourde to its initial "Watch List" for the 10th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The 2010 All-American and A-10 Pitcher of the Year is one of 50 players nation-wide to be named to the list.
This marks the fifth year in a row that a UMass player has been named to the Preseason Watch List. Plourde joins Carly Normandin (2010), Brandice Balschmiter (2007-09), and Whitney Mollica (2007) as Minutewomen that have earned the distinction.
The 2011 Pre-Season Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 36 schools and 15 different NCAA Division I Conferences with the Pac-10 Conference leading the way with seven schools represented. The list includes 23 seniors, 12 juniors and 15 sophomores.
The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 13. A player does not have to appear on this initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist. However, once the top 25 finalists are named the winner of the award will come from that list. Freshman qualify for the top 25 list once they have competed at the collegiate level.
SORTINO HONORED FOR 1,100TH WIN:
UMass Softball Head Coach Elaine Sortino was honored on Dec. 9 at the Easton Victory Club Luncheon at the 2010 NFCA National Convention at the San Diego Marriott & Marina in San Diego, Calif. The 31-year head coach of the Minutewomen achieved her 1,100th victory in the Atlantic 10 Championship last season and was one of several coaches to be recognized for reaching milestone victories.
Sortino entered her 32nd season in 2011 with a career record of 1,100-451-6. She ranks fifth among active NCAA Div. I coaches in career victories.
Sortino achieved her 1,100th win in dramatic fashion as it came in UMass' 8-3 victory over Fordham to win the 2010 A-10 Championship on May 15.
FOLLOW UMASS SOFTBALL:
UMass Athletics offers several ways you can follow the Minutewomen. Your No. 1 source for information and news on the softball team is always UMassAthletics.com. Check in often for previews, recaps, news, box scores, and blog entries.
You can now follow UMass softball on Facebook! Simply search UMass Softball and click the "Like" button to follow the Minutewomen and receive up-to-the-minute news.
Follow UMass Athletics on Twitter at twitter.com/umassathletics. Receive the latest news on all UMass teams straight to your Twitter feed.
All of the latest UMass videos: hightlights, interviews, features, etc., can be seen on UMass' YouTube channel. Just go to youtube.com/umassathletics.
SEASON TICKETS ON SALE:
2011 UMass Softball Season Tickets are on sale now! The 22-time Atlantic 10 Champions are primed for another successful season in 2011 and the Minutewomen look forward to you joining them at the UMass Softball Complex for their 18 home games on 12 dates. Tickets can be ordered by calling 866-UMASS-TIX or by visiting the ticket page at UMassAthletics.com.
UMass softball season tickets are once again the best deal around, with plans ranging from $26 to $70 - that works out to between $1.44 and $3.89 per game! Purchasing softball season tickets also earns you Priority Points towards other UMass season tickets, including basketball, football, and hockey.