PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth softball team gathered its first two weekly-awards of the 2017-18 campaign as junior Maddie O' Gryzek (Norfolk, Mass.) and senior Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) were tabbed the Little East Conference's (LEC) Player and Pitcher of the week respectively on Monday by the league offices, with the duo helping the Corsairs to a 4-0 start in Florida to start the fresh season.
O' Gryzek had a solid-offensive display as table-setter at the top of the lineup, pounding out nine hits, including a double and triple while scoring seven runs and driving in three. On the base paths, she swiped four bags on four attempts. The effort to start the year culminated on Sunday when she picked up seven hits on the day, highlighted by her first collegiate 4-for-4 performance at the dish as she helped lead the Corsairs past Smith and Becker in respective 8-7, 6-0 victories. With that, she extended her hitting streak to four contests, reaching base successfully in each of the team's opening four contests. Defensively she played a flawless center field, patrolling the outfield grass with four putouts.
The four-game hitting streak marks the second-longest of O'Gryzek's collegiate career after posting a such-streak of eight games as a freshman from March 17th to March 29th of the 2016-17 season. In three years with the team, she is boasting a career batting average of .305 on 61 base hits. Of those knocks, nine have been of the extra-base fashion, driving in 18 ribbies and scoring an additional 53 runs herself. For the early season, her .500 average in currently slots her into fourth amongst all LEC hitters while her four stolen bases are tied for first.
Smith kicked off her senior season in dominating fashion as she turned in 13 scoreless innings in the circle, striking out 11 batters and scattering six hits. On March 10th in a 2-0 win against the then 8-1 Bates College, she notched her first complete-game effort of the season, and 38th of her career, as she silenced hitters on four hits while fanning three and allowing one walk. In her next appearance less than 24 hours later, she cruised through six complete innings to blank Becker when she recorded a season-high eight strikeouts to lead the Corsairs in a 6-0 victory for their fourth straight win.
On her career, Smith has pitched in 71 games with 58 starts to post an overall record of 28-25 in over 380 innings pitched. Her first appearance of the season against Bates marked the third shutout of her career while the eight-strikeout performance in game two was the fourth time she posted that number, falling just one shy of a career-best attained twice as a sophomore. In the LEC, her two victories sit atop the conference, just one ahead of teammate Kate McDonald (Scituate, Mass.), while her 0.00 ERA is also a conference best. With 16 strikeouts in her first three starts of the season, she has the most from a LEC pitcher in the early goings of the 2017-18 campaign.
The Corsairs look to bounce back from their first two losses of the season Tuesday when they meet fellow-New England teams in MCLA and Suffolk at 2 and 4:30 pm respectively at the 2018 Spring Games in Clermont, Fla.