AMHERST, Mass. - Held to just one run on the day, the Charlotte 49ers softball team was swept by UMass in a conference doubleheader Sunday afternoon. The Niners fell, 3-1 in game one before suffering an 8-0 shutout (five innings) in game two. With the pair of losses, Charlotte drops to 26-22 overall and 9-9 in the Atlantic 10. The Minutewomen improve to 30-11 on the season with a perfect 15-0 conference mark.
The Niners scored their lone run of the day in the fifth inning of the opening game, when junior left fielder Briana Gwaltney doubled and crossed home plate after first baseman Kalie Lang singled and advanced on an error by the UMass second baseman.
UMass scored a pair of runs in the third inning and added a third in the fourth when first baseman Tiffany Meeks crushed her sixth homer of the season, a solo shot to left field.
Charlotte did have its chances, leaving the bases loaded twice in the game.
In the second inning, Lang and Jackie Kleinsmith reached on back-to-back walks and Chelsea Stamey was hit by a pitch to load the bases, all with no outs. But Minutewomen ace Sara Plourde got out of the frame unscathed, getting the next two batters to fly out and finally strike out Alex Rogers to end the Niner threat.
The 49ers stranded a trio of runners again in the third after Gwaltney reached on an error, Samantha Slade walked and Kleinsmith reached on a hit by pitch. Plourde ended that scoring attempt with another K, this time getting Stamey to swing and miss.
Gwaltney and Lang tallied the only Niner hits of the game, while six Minutewomen recorded hits. Diaz-Patterson and Meeks each went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored, and right fielder Katie Bettancourt had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3.
Lexi Betancourt (14-11) suffered the loss for Charlotte, going 6.0 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits. She struck out six and walked three. Plourde struck out 11 and walked three in the complete game victory.
Plourde (29-9) held the Niners to just two hits in game two, striking out three and walking one in 5.0 innings.
The Minutewomen scored single runs in the first three innings, before blowing the game open with three runs in the fourth and finishing Charlotte off with two more in the fifth for the 8-0 victory.
Katie Watkins (11-11) was charged with the loss, allowing six runs on six hits through 4.0 innings before giving way to Chelsea Lisikatos, who pitched the final 0.2 innings and allowed a two-run, walkoff triple to Cyndil Matthew.
Charlotte wraps up its road trip with a non-conference doubleheader at Winthrop Tuesday at 5 p.m.