May 1, 2012
UMass has won a season-best 14-consecutive games, 19 of its last 20 and 24 of its last 28. The Minutewomen are 12-0 at home and 7-0 in A-10 home contests. UMass is 8-3 in true road games and 6-0 in A-10 road contests.
The Minutewomen are the hitting .287 as a team, first in the A-10, and boast seven players hitting at .265 or better. Elsewhere in the league UMass is first in slugging pct. (.447), on-base pct. (.378), RBI (191), triples (8) second in batters hit-by-pitch (41), third in runs (200), steals (54) and sacrifice flies (8).
Leading the charge are the top two in the batting order, junior OF Cyndil Matthew (.409-0-15) and freshman SS Quianna Diaz-Patterson (.378-4-39). QDP had a 12-game hitting streak earlier this season which is the longest by a Minutewoman, while her current 20-game streak of reach base is the longest this year.
Senior All-America Sara Plourde is 29-9 with a 2.02 earned run average and leads the nation in strikeouts for the third-consecutive year with 434. She also has 35 complete games, 11 shutouts and six of her 15 career no-hitters this season. She tossed her second-career solo perfect game at St. Bonaventure and the 13th in school history. She is also hitting .308 with a team-high nine HR and 26 RBI.
Scouting Boston University
The Terriers (33-13, 11-3 America East) are riding their longest winning streak of the season heading into the week and are ranked No. 20 in this week's Mid-Major Poll. BU has won its last nine games, including six last week. BU defeated Providence in a doubleheader on Wednesday by scores of 5-3 and 3-1 before posting a 6-4 victory over Boston College on Thursday. BU then hosted Hartford for a three game series and swept the Hawks in a doubleheader on Saturday, 1-0 and 11-1 (five innings) before winning 2-0 on Sunday.
Sophomore Brittany Clendenny, the America East Player of the Week, posted nine hits in BU's last six games, including six doubles and three home runs. Clendenny has totaled 46 hits on the year, trailing classmates Megan Volpano (49) and Jayme Mask (47). Volpano leads the team with 32 RBIs while sophomore Amy Ekart has batted in 26 runs.
Junior Whitney Tuthill, the America East Pitcher of the Week, led the Terriers with four wins in their last six games to improve her record to 11-4 on the season. Tuthill has a 2.29 ERA, second to Holli Floetker's 1.66 ERA. Floetker is 16-3 on the season while Erin Schuppert evened her record to 6-6 with a win against Hartford on Sunday. As a staff, the Terriers rank 16th in the nation with a 1.76 ERA.
Series With Boston University
UMass leads the series with BU 12-3 overall and 7-3 in Amherst. More recently though, the games have been very close with a pair of one-run games and the only postseason meeting between the schools.
UMass won both games last seaosn by identical 3-2 scores. In the first game at BU, Kyllie Magill
had two hits, including a triple, and drove in a pair of runs to lead UMass. The Minutewomen led 3-0, but the Terriers plated two runs in the sixth inning and had runners at second and third in the bottom of the seventh when a lineout to third base ended the game. Sara Plourde
allowed two runs on six hits and four walks while striking out eight.
In the rematch at UMass, Plourde struck out 14 batters to eclipse the 1,000-strikeout mark for her career and Cyndil Matthew
scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh after BU tied it in the top of the inning to give the Minutewomen a 3-2 victory.
In 2010, the Minutewomen won both regular-season meetings, 3-0 in Amherst and 7-5 in Boston, before the Terriers claimed a 10-4 decision in an elimination game at the NCAA Amherst Regional.
UMass Top 3 Batters Helping To Lead A-10
UMass' top three hitters in the lineup - Cyndil Matthew, Quianna Diaz-Patterson and Katie Bettencourt - have done their part to put the Minutewomen atop the Atlantic 10 in team batting in league games at .355, 30 points higher than Fordham. In fact, Diaz-Patterson is second in A-10 games with a .488 avg., Matthew is third at .447 and Bettencourt is eighth at .378. Matthew is first in runs scored and stolen bases, while Diaz-Patterson is second in hits and tied for first in RBI. Sara Plourde is tied for the league lead in HR, RBI and in strikeouts by a pitcher.
Minuttewomen Strong On 'D'
UMass has been very solid on defense during its current 14-game winning streak. In fact, the Minutewomen lead the A-10 in league games with a .989 fielding pct and have committed just four errors. UMass has not made a miscue in 12 of 15 A-10 contests. Prior to a fielding mistake that led to Charlotte's only run of the weekend, the Minutewomen had been clean in the field over their previous seven games.
And Then There Was One
Entering the week, UMass is the only unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play at 15-0. 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 Perfect At Home
Following Sunday's sweep of Charlotte, UMass improved to 12-0 at home on the season. The Minutewomen are one of just five schools out of 289 at the Division I level who are still unbeaten in their home park. The others are Louisville (25-0), Louisiana-Lafayette (24-0), Texas Southern (16-0) and Nebraska (13-0).
UMass has been perfect at home six times in program history with the last time coming nine years ago when the 2003 squad went 18-0. The 2010 team went 13-0 in the regular season at home before losing once in the A-10 Tournament and twice in the NCAA Amherst Regional - both of which were played at the UMass Softball Complex.
UMass Bat/Ball & Stick/Ball Sports Dominating Conference Play
While the UMass softball team has a 15-0 mark in Atlantic 10 play thus far, some other spring sports are dominating their league competition as well. Following Sunday's sweep of Rhody, UMass softball, men's lacrosse (6-0 in CAA), women's lacrosse (7-0 in A-10) and baseball (9-6 in A-10) are a combined 37-6 in conference play for an .860 winning pct.
Matthew Near The Top Of Atlantic 10 Rankings
UMass junior OF Cyndil Matthew has been on a tear this season. She enters the week leading the A-10 in batting avg. (.409 - 19 points more than second), on-base pct. (.490), runs (44) and triples (4), while ranking second in steals (27). She also leads the team with 15 multi-hit games and 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 41 games at shortstop and currently is tied for or leads the team in RBI (39), doubles (13) and steals pct. (1.000 on 7-of-7). She has blistered A-10 pitching as she ranks first in hits (24) and RBI (23), second in batting (.511) and triples (2).
Plourde Named Top 25 Finalist For USA Softball Player of the Year Award
Massachusetts senior Sara Plourde was named one of the Top 25 Finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced Tuesday. The winner will be announced at the opening of the 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City.
Plourde, a two-time All-America selection from Bristol, Conn., currently leads the nation in strikeouts (304), strikeouts per seven innings (12.7) and fewest hits allowed per seven innings (2.88). She has also held opponents to a nation's best .121 batting average in 168.0 innings this season.
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.