Black Bears softball walk off twice on Saturday, win by mercy rule Sunday

Maine claimed a season long six-game winning streak after the first contest of a doubleheader against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell on Thursday, before they lost the second game.

The Black Bears looked to get back into the win column when they hosted Stony Brook in a doubleheader for their first home series of the season. They mounted a comeback in the opening game by walking off 4-3 and showed energy in the later matchup as they walked off again in extras, 3-2. Maine improved 11-18 on the year and Stony Brook dropped 9-20.

Players to take the mound were fourth-year pitcher Erin Bogdanovich for the Black Bears and first-year pitcher Melissa Rahrich for the Seawolves. To begin the first inning, Stony Brook’s leadoff hitter grounded out before an error by Bogdanovich allowed the next runner to reach. A double by Rahrich made it runners on second and thirdand second-year catcher Irene Rivera launched a bomb to right center for a three-run home run that gave them a 3-0 lead. Bogdanovich struckout the next two batters to get out of trouble.

“When I get a pitch to hit out of the park, it’s the greatest feeling you can have as a batter. Not many players have the power to hit the ball that far, and I’m fortunate that I can,” Rivera said.

In the bottom of the inning, Maine started off with two straight groundouts, which were followed by fourth-year catcher Rachel Harvey and second-year infielder Alyssa Derrick both singling to put two runners on with two outs. Third-year infielder Kristen Niland was next to bat, but she struck out and ended the threat.

During the second inning, fourth-year infielder Lexie Shue singled to start it off and a groundout allowed her to get to second base. While trying to get another 60 feet closer to home plate, Shue was caught stealing third right before fourth-year outfielder Sami Duffy singled to left. In a similar circumstance, Duffy attempted to take second but was also caught stealing for the third out.

“We didn’t make good decisions in the second inning and it certainly cost us from getting another run or two on the board. Even though we still had the lead, we have to be smart at all times on the bases,” Stony Brook Head Coach Megan Bryant said.

The Black Bears didn’t make any noise during their chance to bat, as fourth-year shortstop Felicia Lennon and second-year infielder Meghan Royle grounded out and second-year infielder Maddie Decker struckout.

For the third frame, Bogdanovich had her first 1-2-3 inning of the game as she got all three Stony Brook batters to groundout. In the bottom of the inning, the first two Maine batters also grounded out before third-year outfielder Rachel Carlson singled and Harvey reached on an error committed by first-year third baseman Riley Craig. Maine was unable to capitalize as Derrick flied out to end to the inning.

In the fourth inning, the Seawolves established a legitimate threat when first-year infielder Taylor Pechin singled with one out, then Shue also singled with two out. Craig was then able to reach after a fielder’s choice error was committed by Derrick at third base. The next to hit was Duffy, but she struck out as the game stayed at a three-run margin.

Maine looked as if they were going to climb back into it when they came to bat in their half of the fourth, when Lennon and Royle both singled with one out and Decker reached after an error committed by Shue to load the bases. Fourth-year infielder Maddie Moore came in to pinch hit, but she unfortunately grounded into a double play when she hit a comebacker to Rahrich, who went back to home for the force out before the catcher threw to first base to end the inning.

When Stony Brook came to hit in the fifth inning, they went down quietly as the first two batters grounded out and the third batter struck out. Maine established a good time to make some noise when third-year outfielder Erika Leonard and Carlson singled before Harvey laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both of them. Derrick followed with a single to left to bring in their first run of the game, making it 3-1. Niland then grounded out and Lennon walked to load up the bases with two outs.

“It was so nice to be back out there with my teammates after missing most of the season with a broken hand, and I’m so glad I could contribute to help us get a big win,” Lennon said.

Cutting into the deficit once again, Royle singled to third to score another, bringing it to 3-2.

Next up was Decker, who singled to right and brought in the tying run as it was now 3-3. Third-year infielder Sarah Coyne became the ninth batter of the inning with a chance to get the lead, but she popped out to end the threat.

Heading into the sixth inning, Bogdanovich constructed her second 1-2-3 frame of the day when she got the first batter to line out, the second to groundout and the third to fly out.

The Black Bears had a chance to take the lead in the bottom half when Carlson and Harvey both singled with one out to put a runner in scoring position, but the opportunity was quickly erased when Derrick hit into a double play to end the inning.

In the seventh inning, Stony Brook’s first-year infielder Allyssa Malony singled with one out, but the next batters were unable to advance her and the game remained tied 3-3.

Maine had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the frame and they gave themselves a chance when it started with a single by Niland and a sacrifice bunt by Lennon allowed first-year pinch runner Emily Gilmore advance to second. Royle then singled and Decker followed with one of her own and Gilmore tried to score on the play but was thrown out at home by second-year right fielder Katelyn Corr. Third-year infielder Faythe Goins was sent in to pinch hit for Coyne and she made the best of her opportunity when she singled to center to bring in Royle for the winning run.

“I don’t get many chances to help the team win and I’m so excited that I came through. Hopefully we can keep pushing to get another win in the second game,” Coyne said.

The Black Bears claimed a come-from-behind 4-3 victory in the first of a doubleheader, as it happened in stunning fashion with a walk-off. Bogdanovich went all seven innings, giving up three runs with two earned on seven hits and walked none while striking out five to improve to 3-7 on the season. Rahrich went six and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on 16 hits and walked one while striking out two to drop to 6-9 on the year.

 

Black Bear softball walks-off again

The second game of the doubleheader would feature Maine sending out third-year pitcher Molly Flowers to the mound, while Stony Brook handed the ball to third-year pitcher Maddy Neales. To begin the contest, Flowers walked the first two batters in first-year outfielder Jourdin Hering and Corr, but came back with three consecutive strikeouts in impressive fashion.

Maine also found runners on base in the bottom of the first when Carlson walked with one out, followed by singles from Harvey and Derrick to load up the bases. After Lennon fouled out, Niland came up and drew a walk that forced in a run and gave the Black Bears a 1-0 lead. Royle was next to bat, but grounded out to end the threat.

In the second inning, the first two batters were retired by way of a fly out and pop out before Malony singled up the middle, but Stony Brook could not make anything of it as Duffy struck out.

Leading off in the bottom half was Decker, who reached on an error committed by Nealesand Coyne replaced Decker at first after she grounded into a fielder’s choice. Nothing came about, as Leonard struckout and Carlson grounded out to end the inning.

For the third, Hering led off with a singlewhich was followed with a bunt single by Corrand Hering was thrown out at third attempting to take another base. Rahrich then struckout and Corr took second on a wild pitch and Rivera was able to drive in the tying run with a single up the middle to make it 1-1. Pechin came up with two outs, but grounded out as Maine escaped any further damage.

“Without that base running mistake, we would’ve gotten another run, but can’t make excuses when we had chances to score later in the game,” Hering said.

In the bottom half, Harvey grounded out before Derrick came to the plate and connected with a long ball to left center for a solo home run, giving Maine a 2-1 lead. The next two batters were retired, including Lennon by fly out and Niland by ground out.

“There’s something special about hitting a homerun. Only a few players can at this stage, and I’m lucky that I’m one of them,” Derrick said.

During the fourth inning, Shue grounded out to lead off and was followed with a double to left center by third-year infielder Chelsea Evans. Malony struck out and failed to advance the runner, but Duffy came through with a single that allowed Evans to score after an error committed by Harvey, tying the game again at 2-2. Duffy was left on base after Hering struck out.

Before Maine came to bat in their half, Stony Brook changed pitchers as second-year Lindsey Hughes came in to replace Neales. The Black Bears didn’t do much as Royle, Decker and Coyne were sent down in order with three groundouts.

Heading into the fifth inning, Corr led off with a walk and Rahrich laid down a sacrifice bunt to third base that allowed Corr to take second. Rivera followed with a groundout to the pitcher that gave way for Corr to advance to third with two outs, but Pechin grounded out to end the threat.

In Maine’s chance to bat, Carlson drew a base on balls with one out, but was consequently caught stealing second and Harvey struck out to end the inning.

Going into the sixth inning, Flowers manufactured her first 1-2-3 frame of the day when she got Shue and Evans to ground out, followed by with a pop out of Malony.

The Black Bears sent Derrick to lead off the bottom half, as she singled to second base and second-year utility player Laurine German came in to pinch run. Lennon entered the box and was put on a hit-and-run with two strikes, but she struck out while German stole second. In the middle of the next at bat with Niland at the plate, a wild pitch allowed German to take third and Niland failed to bring her home as she popped out. Royle drew a walk to put two runners on with two down, but Decker struck out as the game remained tied.

For the seventh inning, the first two Seawolves were retired with one by groundout and the other by strikeout. Corr followed with a single to center and got to second base with a steal to get into scoring position. She was stranded after Rahrich flied out to center.

During Maine’s half, Goins struck out and Leonard walked, then Carlson also struck out while Leonard took second on a wild pitch, then third on a passed ball. Harvey had a chance to bring in the winning run with two down, but fouled out to send the game to extras.

The eighth inning was easy for Flowers, who sent down Rivera, Pechin and Shue in order. Rahrich came on in relief of Hughes and Derrick led off the bottom half for Maine with a single. Gilmore came in to pinch run. Attempting to sacrifice Gilmore to second base, Lennon bunted out to the pitcher and Gilmore made her way to second after a wild pitch. Niland then popped out and Royle walked before Decker came through with a walk-off RBI single to right to give Maine a 3-2 victory.

“They definitely came to play today. It’s hard to believe we had two walk-offs, and it’s not easy to play two games back-to-back, but they kept fighting until the end. We’re happy adding a couple wins and we’ll be right at it for another one tomorrow,” Maine Head Coach Mike Coutts said.

By pulling out another walk-off, the doubleheader turned out to be a thrilling one for the Black Bears. Flowers went all eight innings, giving up two runs with one earned on six hits and walked three while striking out 10 and improving her record to 4-7 on the season.

Neales went three innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits and walked two while striking out one. Hughes came on in relief, going four innings and giving up one earned run on two hits, while walking three and striking out five. The starter of game one, Rahrich, came on in the eighth inning and went two-thirds before the winning run was assessed to Hughes. Rahrich gave up one hit and walked one in her brief appearance, as Hughes took the loss, bringing her record to 2-1 on the year.

“With the way the game was going, I thought it was best to put Rahrich in since her teammates know that she gives them a chance to win. We made several defensive mistakes today, and it makes the situation more difficult for our pitching to keep us in the game,” Bryant said.

Maine and Stony Brook University return to action on Sunday, April 16 in Orono at 11 a.m. to complete their three-game weekend series.

Softball claims 8-0 shutout of Stony Brook, sweeps weekend series

After walking off in both games of the doubleheader on Saturday with scores 4-3 and 3-2 respectively, Maine looked to sweep the weekend series against Stony Brook. The Black Bears scored early and often and didn’t look back en route to their 8-0 victory. Maine improved to 12-18 on the season, while Stony Brook dropped to 9-21.

Starters for the game were Bogdanovich for the Black Bears and Rahrich for the Seawolves. In the first inning, Hering laid down a bunt for a single to reach with one out and advanced to second on a groundout by Rahrich. Rivera came up with a runner in scoring position, but she grounded out to strand Hering.

When Maine came to bat, they were looking to quickly put some runs on the board. Leonard led off with a walk and two batters later, Harvey drew a walk as well. Next to bat was Derrick, who got into one and launched a three-run homerun to center to make it 3-0 for her ninth homer on the season. The next two batters flied out, but the Black Bears were already leading comfortably.

“It’s nice having a home run streak because I don’t think many of these girls can say that. I just look to drive a ball when I can and give my team a chance to win,” Derrick said.

The Seawolves tried to string together some offense in the second inning as Shue singled with one out and Evans drew a walk one batter later. Malony followed with a single to left that loaded the bases, but the next two batters were retired and they were unable to get a run across.

In the bottom of the inning, Maine would add on to their lead when it started with a leadoff single by Royle, followed by another single by Decker and a sacrifice bunt laid down by German allowed both runners to advance a base. The next batter was Leonard, who connected with one to left for Maine’s second three-run home run of the game for her third homer on the season, which made it 6-0.

“I know Alyssa might be getting used to this, but hitting a homerun takes patience when you’re looking for a pitch to drive and it’s definitely exciting when it flies past the fence,” Leonard said.

Pechin came in to replace Rahrich and it didn’t turn out to be easy for her either. She walked the first batter, Carlson, then Harvey followed with a single and they both advanced a base on a wild pitch. After Derrick grounded out, Lennon doubled to score two more runs, bringing their lead to 8-0. With two down, Pechin was able to get Niland to ground out and end the damage.

Heading into the third inning, Hering led off with a single for her second hit of the game, and a groundout by Rahrich allowed her to advance to second. The next two batters, Rivera and Pechin, both struck out and left the runner aboard.

With the Black Bears coming to bat, it happened to be their quietest of the day as Pechin claimed a 1-2-3 inning by getting Royle to line out and Decker and German to pop out.

“The game was out of reach when I came in, but it doesn’t matter what the score is when we have the mentality to play until it’s over,” Pechin said.

In the fourth inning, Shue fell victim to a strikeout and Evans was able to reach base by drawing a walk. After Malony flied out, Evans got into scoring position by stealing second base. Duffy came up with two down, but struck out and left the runner on.

For the bottom half, Leonard hit a sky-high pop up for the first out and Carlson laid down a bunt for a single to reach first base. Harvey came up next and Carlson was quickly erased when Harvey hit a sharp liner to third, where Carlson was caught in between bases and doubled off to end the frame.

Stony Brook would have to score at least one run in the fifth inning to stay alive, as the eight-run mercy rule would take effect for the home team. Corr led off for the Seawolves and reached base after an error was committed by Niland. Hering was next to bat, as she reached on a fielder’s choice that took Corr out and Rahrich hit next where she grounded into the same scenario. Third-year outfielder Ileana Torres came in to pinch run for Rahrich and their day was done after Rivera grounded into their third fielder’s choice of the inning.

“The mercy rule shouldn’t be an excuse of how it went today, but we didn’t play the best that we’re capable of. Our pitching didn’t start out well and our hitting couldn’t produce, so it happens sometimes,” Stony Brook Head Coach Megan Bryant said.

The Black Bears claimed an 8-0 victory with help of the mercy rule and they swept their conference opponent in the three-game weekend series. Bogdanovich went all five innings in a shutout, giving up four hits, while walking two and striking out seven that improved her record to 4-8 on the season.

Rahrich went just one and one-third innings, surrendering six earned runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out none. Dropping her record to 6-9 on the season. Pechin came on in relief, as she went two and two-thirds, giving up two earned runs on three hits, while walking one and striking out none.

“That’s the way we had to come out and show that we’re the better team this weekend. It feels great how this team has been performing lately and it’s important that we keep it going,” Maine Head Coach Mike Coutts said.

Maine is on a roll as they’ve won nine of their last 10 and they return to action on Wednesday, April 19 on the road at 5 p.m. against the College of the Holy Cross. Stony Brook University plays next on Tuesday, April 18 at home at 3 p.m. against Iona College.

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