UMass and UConn will meet for the first time this season on Tuesday. The initial match-up was scheduled for April 2 in Storrs, but that was postponed to May 1 (15 days from Tuesday) due to cold weather conditions.
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 (12-17, 8-2 Atlantic 10) comes into the contest on a five-game win streak, while claiming 10 of its last 11 overall.
The Minutewomen are hitting .228 on the year. They have increased their team batting average in each of the past 12 games. During that period, UMass has put up a .384 with a.457 on-base percentage. Seven starters have over a .333 avg. at the plate as well. UM has posted double-digit hit totals in nine of those games with a season-best four-consecutive entering today's contest.
Connecticut (17-19, 3-8 Big East) is on a three-game losing streak after being swept at No. 10/11 Louisville last weekend. UConn has won its last four midweek road games.
Karen Mullins is in her 30th season at UConn and has compiled a 840-580-5 record. She has led the Huskies to eight NCAA Tournament appearances (all between 1989-2001) and the 1993 Women's College World Series.
Series With Connecticut
The teams are meeting for the 88th time on Tuesday with the Huskies holding a 45-41-1 series edge. UConn won the last meeting, 5-3 in Storrs on April 2, 2012. Prior to that, UMass had won the last eight games overall, including six-consecutive in Storrs. The series is the second-most played in program history behind the 99 contests with Rhode Island.
The Minutewomen have produced three no-hitters against the Huskies with the most recent coming in 2008 on the arm of current assistant coach Brandice Balschmiter.
Streaking Right Along
With UMass' strong play over the past month, a number of Minutewomen have collected some impressive hitting streaks and reaching base. Entering the UConn game, Cyndil Matthew and Tiffany Meeks have career-best 12-game hitting streaks, followed by Quianna Diaz-Patterson at 11 and Christine Della Vecchia at eight. Diaz-Patterson has reached base in 13-straight outings, while Taylor Carbone is at 12.
UMass has averaged 6.3 runners left on over the course of the season. That number has risen in the past 12 games to 7.8 per contest. The Minutewomen left 11 on-base twice last week, tying their season high set earlier at Dayton and vs. Western Michigan. UMass is hitting .317 this year with runners on base and .291 with runners in scoring position. In A10 play, those averages are .430 and .385.
UMass Record Book Update
A quick check of the Massachusetts Softball Record Book shows a number of Minutewomen are making their way up the charts in various categories.
Senior Katie Bettencourt hit her 18th career home run on Sunday at Charlotte to move into 10th place all-time. She has also been hit by a pitch 11 times for tied for eighth. Junior Lindsey Webster is also on HBP the list, placing third after being plunked 17 times.
Senior Cyndil Matthew's 82 career steals put her third all-time at UMass. Next on the list is Candice Molinari, who swiped 98 from 2004-07. Both her .362 career batting average and .434 on-base percentage would be fourth. Her 116 runs scored are 11th and her eight triples are tied for 18th.
Massachusetts was picked to win the 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference title in a vote of the league's 12 head coaches during the preseason polls. Fordham was chosen second, George Washington - last year's tourney runner-up - took the third spot, followed by Saint Joseph's (fourth), Temple (fifth), Charlotte (sixth), Butler (seventh), Saint Louis (eighth), Dayton (ninth), St. Bonaventure (10th), Rhode Island (11th) and La Salle (12th).
For the ninth time in school history, UMass will play host to the Atlantic 10 Championship Tournament, May 8-11 at Sortino Field. The format features six teams in a double-elimination bracket, with the first and second-place teams based on regular-season winning pct. receiving day one byes.
Ticket information will be announced soon so be on the lookout for your chance to witness history right here in the Pioneer Valley.