PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth softball team had a handful of players listed on All-Conference Team's on Thursday, as senior Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.), sophomore Nicole McSweeney (Bridgewater, Mass.), sophomore Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) and freshman Kylie Fletcher (Dighton, Mass.) were all announced as members of the Little East Conference Second Team.
Smith collects her second consecutive Second Team recognition, as she built upon her reputation as the dependable option in the circle for the Corsairs. This past season, the right-hander started a career-high 24 games with 131.1 innings of work to collect 13 victories. She finished inside the top-three for wins and earned run average (1.97) while coming top-five for strikeouts (93) and innings pitched.
In the 2018 campaign, Smith had a few notable instances to close her collegiate career. The first came on March 15 as the senior shut down #7 Amherst College, scattering five hits to sail to victory in a complete game shutout over the nationally ranked-opponent. In the midst of the year, the team embarked on an 11-game winning streak as the senior hurler earned four wins on five starts in the span from March 17 to April 14. On April 8 against Western Connecticut, Hannah became the third UMass Dartmouth pitcher since 2010 to join the 300-strikeout club with her five punchouts putting her over the number.
Sophomores Sheerin and McSweeney join the upperclassman on the Second Team, marking the first and second postseason honor respectively.
Sheerin was one of six Corsairs with a batting average above .300 as she accumulated 35 hits in 112 at-bats while hitting in the middle of the lineup. It was her power that emerged this season, as she belted her first two collegiate homers with ten doubles to drive in 21 ribbies with an additional 18 runs scored. Sheerin posted eight multi-hits contests during the 2018 campaign, including three instances of three or more hits. During an April 5 doubleheader against Bridgewater State, the first baseman collected seven hits for the day with three coming in game one and another four in the nightcap to drive in seven in the sweep. On April 17, she had another three-hit performance including a double, contributing three runs in a 12-1 victory against Rhode Island College.
McSweeney was honored by the LEC despite an injury-infested season, as the outfielder led the team in batting average at .375 given a lesser frequency of plate appearances. On the base paths, she set a new season-high as she swiped eight bags without being caught. McSweeney played in just 29 games during her sophomore stint, but in that time, she was a table setter at the backend of the lineup with seven multi-hit games and 12 runs scored. She had three occasions where she had three or more game hitting streaks, with the most recent coming from April 14 to the 18 where she had a hit in five-straight games, including three two-hit performances before being shut down for the remainder of the season.
Fletcher picks up her first collegiate postseason honor as she stepped into an everyday player role during her initial season, seeing action in every game but two. The rookie was a stalwart offensively, tying a program single-season record with four homers. In her first season, she recorded 13 multi-hit games while finishing top-five in the conference for RBI (27) and homers.
On several occasions this year, it was the timely-hitting of Fletcher that boosted the Corsairs to victory. The first instance came on March 10 as she delivered a two-run home run in the top of the sixth during a 2-0 win against Bates. On April 5, her three-run shot sparked a comeback as the team erased a seven-run deficit to takedown Bridgewater State, 11-10. She rounded out her home run total with one in back-to-back games as the Corsairs narrowly defeated Western Connecticut and Salem State in respective 5-3, 4-2 victories.
The Corsairs earned the six-seed in last week's LEC postseason following a 23-13 (7-7 LEC) regular season. In the tournament, the team defeated #5 Eastern Connecticut in a 1-0 final before dropping consecutive matchups with #5 Western Connecticut and #1 Plymouth State to put an end to the year.