Previewing 2018 Softball: Massachusetts

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With Boston College softball’s three-game sweep of North Carolina State over the weekend, BC’s historic winning streak reached double digits. The Eagles (19-15, 8-3 Atlantic Coast) are hoping to make history on Tuesday—an 11th-consecutive victory would set a new program record. To achieve this, however, the Eagles will have to knock off an equally hot Massachusetts (20-10, 9-0 Atlantic 10) team that boasts an active 10-game winning streak of its own. Something has to give in this midweek showdown that will see the Eagles take the field at their recently-completed Brighton home for the first time.

Who is BC playing?

Massachusetts

When is BC playing?

Tuesday, April 10, 4 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Brighton Softball Field, Brighton, Mass.

How to Watch:

The game will not be livestreamed, but live stats will be available here.

Probable Starters:

RHP Kiara Oliver (11-2) vs. RHP Jessica Dreswick (12-8)

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Stellar pitching has been at the heart of the Eagles’ winning streak, as their collective staff has vaulted to second in the ACC with a 2.19 earned run average. Jessica Dreswick and Allyson Frei have been workshorses, pitching nearly every inning this season. They’ve surrendered fewer than four runs in all but one game of the winning streak.

2) Senior Chloe Sharabba is red-hot at the plate. Over her last five games, she has gone 8-for-15, while scoring 10 runs, sparking the offense at the top of the lineup.

3) Eight of BC’s 15 losses have come by just one run, including all three conference defeats. This bad luck in close games has prevented the Eagles’ winning record from being even better.

UMass:

1) Over the course of its own 10-game winning streak, the Minutewomen’s offense has exploded. In fact, it’s plated seven or more runs in nine of the 10 games. Jena Cozza leads the charge, sporting a .506 average while slugging 11 home runs.

2) Kiara Oliver has put together an impressive season on the mound. She has compiled an 11-2 record, and ranks third in the A10 with a 2.31 earned run average.

3) UMass has taken its game to another level in conference play. The Minutewomen have put together a nine-game undefeated start to their A10 schedule, outscoring opponents, 76-16.

Outlook:

Despite the A10 being a weaker conference, the Eagles cannot look past UMass—a team that has already beaten an ACC opponent (Louisville) this year. A key for this game is whether BC will be able to shut down the hot bats of UMass, holding the Minutewomen’s power hitters in check. Despite tossing a five-hit gem when these teams met last season, Dreswick took the loss in a nail-biting 2-1 affair. The Eagles have begun to turn around their close game woes over this stretch, including an extra-inning victory to conclude their weekend in Raleigh, N.C. For teams that match up fairly equally on paper, the intangibles and smaller things like defense and baserunning may be what decide this sure-to-be-close contest.

Featured Image by Shaan Bijwadia / Heights Staff