Softball battle to pair of home wins before splitting mid-week doubleheader

Pushing for a spot in the Atlantic 10 Championships, the University of Rhode Island softball team exited their week with a positive record after separate stints against George Washington University and the University of Massachusetts.

The Rams’ weekend stretch with the Revolutionaries proved fruitful, as Rhode Island took two of three games over GW. The double-header sweep on day one was backed by consistent pitching and defensive play, allowing the Rams to hold their opponent to only four runs over two games.

The Rams were not able to collect the sweep, as the Revolutionaries took game three 3-1. Although Rhody’s bats couldn’t find runners across the plate, leaving five runners on base, their pitching remained strong.

Leading the charge was third-year Katie Zaun and second-year Ashley Hibbard, who combined for 11 of 14 possible innings and only two earned runs throughout the first two games.

“I think our pitchers did a really nice job, kind of minimizing the damage,” URI Head Coach Whitney Goldstein said. “Throughout the weekend, even in pressure it has been nice to see their earned runs average start to come down, them handl[ing] pressure situations more consistently and it allows everyone to play a bit more relaxed.”

Another player that showcased her abilities in the relaxed state of mind was second-year Casey Miller. The second baseman went 4-8 through the three games and was a defensive staple, recording nine putouts with seven assists and only one error along the way.

“I felt good, I felt like my team had my back,” Miller said. “[The] pitchers were doing their job, we had a lot of great communication with all the defensive players.”

A large factor in the Ram’s first loss of the weekend was the pitching performance from George Washington’s first-year pitcher Sophia Torreso. In a classic bounceback performance, Torreso went from allowing nine earned runs through 7.2 innings in the double header, to pitching a complete game on the following day only allowing one run.

“[There was] nothing different,” Miller said. “She came a little bit harder today, she is a great competitor but I think we just didn’t work as well as a whole today.”

After the weekend, the Rams hosted UMass in a rare mid-week in-conference double header. The two A-10 flagship schools split the afternoon, with Rhody taking the first bout 3-2 and dropping the second 5-2.

Rhode Island was held scoreless through the first six innings of the primary contest, before scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh to walk off the game. Fifth-year Sydney Yoder struck a ball into left-center field, driving in second-year Mandi Hanewich for the game-winning run.

In the second game, the UMass pitching staff left the Rams with no answers. First-year Hannah Streicher and second-year Natalee Horton combined for no earned runs over seven innings. Rhode Island was able to knock out seven hits, but the only runner to cross home in Hanewich took over for second-year Kylie Bulinski, who reached first by a fielding error.

The Rams are back in action in Ohio when they take on the University of Dayton at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.