Massachusetts senior outfielder Carly Normandin’s triple in the top of the first inning marked the beginning of a long day for the GW softball team. As Normandin slid safely into third base, she collected the first of 18 hits for the Minutewomen in the first game of a doubleheader against the Colonials Sunday afternoon.
Ten innings, 28 hits and 28 runs later, GW fell to 4-17 overall and 1-5 in Atlantic 10 conference play, losing both games to No. 24 Massachusetts, the defending A-10 champions. The Minutewomen beat the Colonials by scores of 17-0 and 11-0 and did not allow a hit in either game.
Inconsistent GW defense (including three errors), extra base hits and smart base running allowed Massachusetts to run up the score in the early innings and forced both games to be called after only five innings.
GW head coach Kim Staehle said her team needs to tighten up its defense.
“We need to play tough defense. We need to make sure we’re playing errorless ball. We always talk about playing errorless, but that wasn’t the case today,” she said.
Sophomore Kara Clauss started both games for the Colonials, giving up 13 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits over 6 and two-thirds innings of work. Clauss allowed six walks and hit one batter with a pitch.
A nine-run third inning in the first game and a six-run fourth inning in the second game sealed the victories for the Minutewomen. Three homeruns, including a grand slam in the second game by senior first baseman Sarah Reeves, sparked the Massachusetts offense. Softly hit ground balls that turned into infield singles swung the momentum to the Minutewomen, as frustrations for GW seemed to pile up quickly.
GW’s bats were absent Sunday, with no hits and only one baserunner. UMass starter sophomore Sara Plourde struck out out the first five batters she faced, and went on to strike out 15 over both games, retiring all but one batter. Plourde and senior Bailey Sanders combined for a no-hitter in the first game, while Plourde threw a complete no-hitter in the second game.
The Colonials lone baserunner, senior outfielder Amanda Holst, reached base on a walk, but was quickly retired after being caught off first base after a line-out.
Staehle said her team needs to work on putting the ball in play to break a pitcher’s momentum.
“Sara Plourde is a very good pitcher. We need to find a way when we’re facing a pitcher of this caliber to put the ball in play and break up a no-hitter. She threw two no-hitters. Offensively, we’re going to work on that,” she said.
Staehle said the Colonials will regroup after losing four games over the weekend, including two Friday and Saturday to Rhode Island.
“Offensively and defensively we have a little bit of work ahead of us. We need to get back to some good practice habits and get back to playing GW tempo of softball. Today that was not us,” she said.
GW will travel to Saint Louis Saturday for a doubleheader.
This article appeared in the March 29, 2010 issue of the Hatchet.