UMaine Softball dominates the week with three straight wins

By: Will Nash

Second-year third baseman Alyssa Derrick, America East’s reigning Player of the Week, lifted Maine over Holy Cross with her 10th home run of the season. The 5-4 victory increased Maine’s win streak to four games, after a three-game series sweep over Stony Brook last weekend. Maine’s record improves to 13-18 overall and remains at a conference best 7-1 record. Meanwhile, Holy Cross falls to 7-24 overall and remains 3-7 within Patriot League play

The first frame offered some lopsided excitement. After second-year second baseman Laurine German and fourth-year catcher Rachel Harvey struck out swinging and Derrick’s pop fly to third base was caught to end the inning, the Holy Cross offense responded with force.

Second-year shortstop Taylor Wahler struck out swinging but was able to advance to first base on a passed ball. Third-year third baseman Mandy McCarthy batted in Wahler with a single and McCarthy was then batted in by a double to the outfield fence by first-year designated hitter Sydney Burr, who also batted in third-year first baseman Taylor Moss. After one inning, the score would reach 3-0 and would not change until the sixth inning.

At the top of the sixth, Maine was back at the plate. Harvey was the first on base after a fielding error in right field. Fourth-year shortstop Felicia Lennon’s sacrifice pop fly to right field brought Harvey home to get the Black Bears on the board and cut into Holy Cross’ lead.

The Crusaders responded quickly with a run of their own in the bottom half of the sixth inning. Second-year Alexandra Held pinch ran for Moss and advanced home off a triple from Burr, which shot straight down the right field line. After six innings, things were not looking good for the Black Bears at 4-1, with one inning remaining.

Prospects of victory may have seemed slim for the University of Maine as they headed into the final inning, but they showed no quit and fought back. Carlson reached first after a fielder’s choice by Holy Cross that retired fourth-year Chloe Douglass at second. Third-year Faythe Goins made it to first after drawing a walk. With Carlson on second and Goins on first, Harvey stepped up and ripped a double that batted in both Carlson and Goins to tighten up the score at 4-3. Then Derrick picked up her weapon, approached the batter’s box and smacked a two-run homerun to center field that gave Maine the lead for the first time all game.

Holy Cross’ last attempt on offense proved fruitless and Maine’s last-second heroics sealed the deal.

Third-year pitcher Annie Kennedy was stellar on the mound for Maine, pitching all seven innings. She only allowed one earned run all game. Her three strikeouts were one off her season high. Her record improves to 5-3 on the season.
Derrick’s performance this season has been of MVP caliber. Her 29 RBIs lead the team as well as her outstanding 12 home runs which also lead all players in America East. Her slugging percentage (.673), which is a measure of total bases earned divided by at bats, leads the team as well.

Maine looks to challenge University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in a three-game weekend series in Baltimore. The first game is scheduled for Friday and then a doubleheader is scheduled on Saturday. Holy Cross moves on to Colgate University for a three-game series this weekend.

 

Softball gets past UMBC on Goins’ pinch-hit homerun, 4-1

By: Marcus Caliendo

Maine overcame a three-run deficit to score four times in the seventh inning in Wednesday’s game against Holy Cross on April 19, as they claimed the victory 5-4. The Black Bears are currently on a four-game winning streak and have won nine of their last 10. They traveled to Maryland to begin their three-game weekend series against the Retrievers and continued their winning play by coming out on top in the first contest 4-1. Maine improved to 14-18 on the season, while the University of Maryland–Baltimore County dropped to 19-23.

Taking the mound to start Friday’s contest was fourth-year pitcher Erin Bogdanovich for Maine and third-year pitcher Kim Puccio for UMBC. In the first inning, third-year outfielder Erika Leonard led off by grounding out and the Black Bears saw their first baserunner when third-year outfielder Rachel Carlson singled up the middle. Next to bat was Harvey, who had the misfortune of lining into a double play as Carlson was doubled off first.

In the bottom of the inning, UMBC’s first two batters were retired when first-year infielder Maddie Daigneau and third-year outfielder Tori Alexander grounded out. The Retrievers quickly got their first run when third-year infielder, Carly Lesko, hit a bomb to left that gave her team an early 1-0 lead. The next batter, third-year infielder Santonastasso, reached base after an error was committed by third-year second baseman Sarah Coyne. The inning ended after fourth-year infielder Kaelin Jackson grounded into a fielder’s choice.

During the second inning, Derrick flied out and Lennon lined out to start it off before second-year infielder Megan Royle doubled to left. They were unable to get the runner across, as fourth-year infielder Maddie Moore popped out.

For the bottom of the frame, Bogdanovich claimed her first couple strikeout victims by taking down fourth-year outfielder Kelly Lane, followed by throwing out fourth-year infielder Jaclyn Buckley after a weak ground ball, then setting down fourth-year catcher Kinsey Shifflett on strikes.

Heading into the third inning, Douglass made hard contact, but lined out to start it off and Coyne drew a walk to reach first base. On a hit-and-run with a full count, Leonard swung and missed for a strikeout, but Coyne stole second base safely and got into scoring position. The next play would be interesting as Carlson reached on an error committed by the second baseman Buckley, who coincidentally threw out Coyne at home after she rounded third to keep the margin at one run.

In the bottom of the inning, third-year outfielder Haley DeLany led off for the Retrievers as she grounded out and leadoff hitter Daigneau followed by striking out. UMBC saw their second hit of the day when Alexander found a way with an infield single and she stole second to get into scoring position. The runner would be stranded when Lesko flied out.

Maine finally made some noise in the fourth inning, when Harvey led off with a single to center and Derrick followed with a base hit of her own. Lennon was next, as she grounded into a fielder’s choice that took out Derrick at second and she got into scoring position when she stole the bag. The bases were then all filled up, after Royle drew a walk and Moore came up who reached on a fielder’s choice to third after an intriguing play.

Jackson threw home to force out Harvey, but a throwing error by the catcher Shifflett allowed Lennon to come around and score to tie it 1-1. Royle also advanced to third and Goins came up to pinch hit. In a turn of events, Goins launched the ball out of the park to right center for a three-run home run, giving Maine a 4-1 lead. Coyne then grounded out to send it to the bottom of the fourth.

UMBC’s first batter Santonastasso also grounded out, before Jackson and Lane each singled to put two runners on. Buckley then hit into a fielder’s choice to reach base, after Lane was forced out at second and the threat ended when Shifflett grounded out.

In the fifth inning, Leonard led off with a double down the left field line, which prompted a pitching change for UMBC. Fourth-year pitcher Nicole Casagrand came in to relieve Puccio and she put her first batter on when she walked Carlson. Casagrand got the next three out with a fly out of Harvey, a pop out of Derrick and a fielder’s choice groundout of Lennon.

When the Retrievers came to bat, DeLany flied out and Daigneau claimed her first hit of the day when she singled to left. Alexander followed with a fielder’s choice that took out Daigneau at second and Lesko flied out to end the inning.

In the sixth frame, Royle was quickly retired with a strikeout and Moore was sent down soon after as she flied out. Douglass reached when she singled to right, but was the result of the third out when she was caught stealing second.

For the bottom of the inning, Santonastasso led off with a single to left and stayed there when Jackson followed by striking out. Lane came up next and was retired on a ground ball that allowed Santonastasso to advance to second, but she was left there when Buckley lined out to right.

Heading into the seventh inning, the Black Bears were sent down in order for the first time in this one when Coyne grounded out, Leonard lined out and Carlson also grounded out. They held onto their three-run cushion when Bogdanovich came in to try and seal the deal.

The Black Bear pitcher did just that, as she claimed her first 1-2-3 inning of the day after she got Shifflett and DeLany to groundout and struck out Daigneau to cap off the 4-1 victory.

Bogdanovich went the distance over seven innings and surrendered one earned run on six hits while striking out five without allowing a walk to improve her record to 5-8 on the season. Puccio went four innings for the Retrievers, as she gave up four unearned runs on six hits and struck out one while walking two to drop to record 9-8 on the year. Casagrand came on in relief, going three innings and giving up one hit while striking out one and walking one.

Maine and the University of Maryland–Baltimore County return to action on Saturday, April 22 when they play a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.

 

Softball defeats UMBC handily, 7-1

By: Marcus Caliendo

Maine increased their winning streak to five games after their 4-1 victory in Friday’s contest and they would stay in Maryland to play UMBC in a doubleheader on Saturday. The Black Bears continued their stellar play, as they claimed a 7-1 win in Game 1 before Game 2 was rained out. Maine improved to 15-18 on the season, while the University of Maryland–Baltimore County dropped to 19-24.

Starting the contest would be third-year pitcher Molly Flowers for Maine and fourth-year pitcher Jessica Holte for UMBC. In the first inning, Leonard led if off with a double to left and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Carlson followed with a walk and Harvey then hit a single to left to bring in Leonard for their first run, making it 1-0.

Harvey and Carlson both advanced a base after a wild pitch and Derrick was next who grounded out, but produced a run to bring it to 2-0. Lennon attempted a squeeze bunt, but she hit into a fielder’s choice when Harvey was thrown out at home. Royle followed with a double, where Lennon came around to score on an error committed by DeLany to make it 3-0 and Royle was thrown out at third trying to advance.

In the bottom of the inning, UMBC went down in order as first-year infielder Maddie Daigneau and third-year outfielder Tori Alexander grounded out and third-year infielder Carly Lesko struck out.

Maine would add to their lead in the second inning, as third-year infielder Kristen Niland started it off with a double to right and Douglass reached on an infield single. Next up was German who dropped down a sacrifice bunt and Jackson committed an error that allowed Niland to score to make it 4-0. After German stole second, Douglass was thrown out at home trying to sneak one in.

After Leonard walked, UMBC made a pitching change where Casagrand came in to replace Holte. The next batter was Carlson, who reached on a fielder’s choice after German was forced out at third, Harvey lined out to end the threat.

The Retrievers would go down 1-2-3 once again as Flowers struck out the first two batters in Santonastasso and Jackson and got Lane to pop out.

Leading off the third inning was Derrick, who squared up a deep ball to left for a solo home run to make it 5-0. This was Derrick’s 11th home run on the season. Next was Lennon, who popped out and the next two batters reached after Royle doubled to left center and Niland walked. Douglass grounded out which allowed both runners to advance and a groundout by German ended the threat.

During the bottom of the frame, UMBC saw their first baserunner when Buckley doubled to left. The next three batters were unable to move her along as Shifflett fouled out and DeLany and Daigneau struckout.

The Black Bears saw their first unproductive inning of the game in the fourth, as they were sent down in order after Leonard struck out, Carlson flied out and Harvey popped out.

In the Retrievers’ turn to bat, Alexander led off with a double to left center and Lesko followed with a hard-hit ball that was caught for a line out. Santonastasso then reached on an error committed by the center fielder Carlson, then after a wild pitch, both Alexander and Santonastasso moved up a base. They were left stranded after Jackson struck out and Lane flied out.

Heading into the fifth inning, Derrick led off in hopes to go back-to-back, but she fell short with a flyout to center. Lennon was next who singled to left, but she stayed there after Royle and Niland both flied out.

Flowers continued her dominance in the bottom of the inning when she sent down the Retrievers in order, including Buckley by pop out, Shifflett by groundout and DeLany by strikeout.

For the sixth inning, Maine didn’t cause any damage as they were also sent down 1-2-3, where Douglass lined out, German grounded out and Leonard struck out.

UMBC would finally start establishing a threat in the bottom of the frame when Alexander drew a one-out walk and Lesko followed with a double to left to put two runners in scoring position. Next up was Santonastasso, who was unable to do anything as she struck out and their hopes of scoring vanished after Jackson grounded out.

In the potentially last inning of the game, Maine was leading comfortably by five runs. Carlson and Harvey were the first two up, who grounded out and popped out, respectively. Next up was the Black Bear power hitter, Derrick. This time, she got into her second long ball of the game when she launched it to left to make it 6-0. This was Derrick’s 12th home run on the season.

Lennon followed with a single to right and advanced to second on an error committed by the right fielder Lane. Royle came into the box next and drove in Lennon with a double to center, making it 7-0. After a wild pitch, Royle made her way to third, but she would stay there as Niland lined out to Casagrand.

The Retrievers faced their last chance in the bottom of the seventh and their hopes of a comeback started when Lane drew a walk. Next up was Buckley, who grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing out Lane at second. Shifflett followed with a single center, which allowed Buckley to make her way to third base. A pitching change occurred next, as third-year pitcher Annie Kennedy came in to replace Flowers.

UMBC claimed their first run of the day when DeLany singled to left to bring in Buckley, making it 7-1. Leadoff hitter Daigneau was next and she was called out after being victim of batter’s interference. Their day ended when Alexander grounded out to Kennedy, as Maine clinched a six-run victory in Game 1 of the doubleheader.

Flowers went six and one-third innings for Maine, giving up one earned run on four hits, while striking out eight and walking two to improve her record to 5-7 on the year. Kennedy came in to relieve Flowers, as she went two-thirds of an inning, giving up one hit to close out the win.

Holte went just one and one-third innings before leaving, as she surrendered four runs with two earned on five hits, while striking out zero and walking two to drop her record to 5-9 on the season. Casagrand came in to relieve Holte, as she went the last five and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs with two earned on six hits, while striking out two and walking one.

The Black Bears increased their winning streak to six games and would make it their 10th win in their last 11 games. They looked to claim another victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader, but the game was rained out before they began.

Maine returns to action on Wednesday, April 26 at home at 3 p.m. against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. The University of Maryland–Baltimore County plays next in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 29 on the road at 1 and 3:15 p.m. against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

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