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MX News Update 2024

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UMass softball powers pass Fordham in quest for Atlantic 10 title – Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts softball team defeated the Fordham Rams 8-4 in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament in the Bronx, New York, on Wednesday afternoon.

To kick off postseason play, the Minutewomen (19-33, 14-12 A-10) offense was cruising as they belted four home runs in the game. Two of them came from Sarah Keagy for a team-high 13th and 14th of the season. Keagy also had five RBIs in the game, showing why she was named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team alongside Chloe Whittier. Every UMass score was the result of a home run.

Pitcher Julianne Bolton also continued her strong season, throwing her 14th complete game of the season, striking out four on 108 pitches.

“(Bolton’s) ball was moving,” head coach Danielle Henderson said. “She was able to keep (the Rams) off balance. All her stuff twisted and broke and she just attacked them all.

After the Minutewomen retired the Fordham (25-28-1, 15-11 A-10) starter early, forcing Devon Miller to throw 80 pitches after just three innings, the offense started to come alive in the fourth inning. After walks by Payge Suggs and Whittier, Keagy brought them in with a monster three-run shot, pushing UMass’ lead to 5-1.

“Sarah (Keagy) was brought here because she is a good hitter,” Henderson said. “She has attacked pitches in different parts of the zone and has been much more aggressive there.”

The Rams had something to say in the bottom of the fourth when they came back with two runs of their own with a single by Eva Koratsis, bringing in Michaela Carter and Nicki Sudall.

The Minutewomen put the game out in the fifth inning with a three-run inning that increased the lead to 8-3. Jordyn Graime led off the inning with her first home run of the season, wrapping the ball around the left field post. Suggs followed with a single through the right side of the field. She didn’t stay on base long when Whittier hit a two-run homer to left field, giving Suggs her second run of the game.

“(Keagy and Whittier) have shown consistent play and veteran leadership all season,” Henderson said. “Sarah (Keagy) puts her passion into the game every day and Chloe (Whittier) has been our vocal leader, putting her heart into it as well. I think this really helped our team.”

The Rams tried to rally again in the bottom of the fifth, but struggled to capitalize with runners on first and third base and got out of the inning with only one run coming off a sacrifice fly by Sudall, bringing in Neleh Nogay.

The Minutewomen hope to keep their conference title hopes alive as they face the top-seeded Dayton Flyers in the second round of the tournament on Thursday. UMass won one of three games against Dayton earlier this season, with its lone victory coming in overtime in a 6-5 home win. The first pitch is at 12 noon.

“Everything right now is to win and move forward,” Henderson said. “It doesn’t matter how you do it. If we play like we did today against Dayton, we will be in good shape.”

Benito Marinero-Rodriguez can be reached at (email protected) and followed at X @bmrodriguez12.