Rams held UMass to two runs over two games
A no-hitter from Devon Miller of Fordham in the first matchup of the two-game series set the tone on Saturday and the Massachusetts softball team struggled to create any offense. Errors on defense led to runs for the Rams and in turn they capitalized on the mistakes made by the Minutewomen.
UMass (10-19, 3-4 Atlantic 10) came out of Saturday’s games empty headed without a win as Fordham (14-14, 6-4 A-10) took both games handily. The Minutewomen were mercy ruled in the first game by a score of 9-0 and fell 7-2 in the second game.
After a sloppy defensive showing on the diamond in the first game, UMass cleaned things up in the second matchup.
The Minutewomen finished with two errors in the second contest, three less than the first game. Right fielder Emily Whelan made a couple highlight-reel plays out in right, one being a diving catch on a line drive to right-center and the second one was a tough play made in foul territory for the out.
The stout defense behind pitcher Jessie DiPasquale wasn’t enough to overcome a five-run deficit by the end of the third inning. The Rams stayed in control of the game thanks to fundamental hitting, small ball with stolen bases and taking advantage of the UMass mistakes.
DiPasquale pitched all seven innings, letting up five hits and seven earned runs. She finished with six strikeouts and settled in after allowing five runs through three innings. The junior has been given the ball a lot for the Minutewomen and was coming off a seven-inning performance in a win earlier in the week against Maine.
“She’s a fighter,” UMass coach Danielle Henderson said of DiPasquale. “Even if you see [Fordham] hit the long ball, she comes back, and she fights right away. I think that [Fordham] has seen her a lot [so they are used to her]. If she just keeps fighting and just keeps hitting her spots, we’ll be good.”
UMass battled in the second game and managed to play all seven innings, but it was the first matchup between the two sides that sparked the momentum for the Rams. Miller was lights out for Fordham, but it was the offense and mistakes from UMass that provided the firepower in the game for it.
To start the game in the top of the first, two of the three runners who reached base got there via an error from a Minutewomen. Bailed Enoch came up to the plate with the bases loaded and smashed a ball over the fence for a grand slam to give the Rams an early four run lead.
“I just think that we weren’t attacking the ball [enough in the first game],” Henderson said. “We letting the ball play us and when you do that you’re afraid to make mistakes. You’re going to make a mistake and I think that’s what we did.”
The errors and missed outs didn’t stop after the first inning for UMass. In the top of the third, Michaela Carey reached based on an error by Kristina Day at shortstop, which advanced Miller to second which was eventually pinch run for by Gigi Speer. The costly mistakes from the Minutewomen led to runners advancing and capitalizing on the defensive misfortunes. Speer made her way around the bases eventually making it to home after another error by Day on an overthrown ball to first to make it 8-0.
“I think we played a little bit out of our self today,” Allen said. “I think we really had good intent to go out on [Fordham], but we just played out of our shoes and [were] a little more passive than they were, and I think that’s what held us back.”
Fordham tacked on one more run and mercy ruled the Minutewomen in five innings. Miller finished with her fourth career no-hitter while striking out six to boot.
UMass gets another crack at the Rams on Sunday with the series finale set for 11 a.m.
Frederick Hanna III can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @FrederickHIII.
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