The University of Maine softball team hosted the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Riverhawks for a doubleheader last week in Orono. They managed to beat Lowell in the first game 3-2 and then were defeated 5-0 in the second.
Their initial win was in walk-off fashion as they scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to come back and complete the rally. The scoring started in the first inning when UML’s third-year catcher Morgan Fisher hit a single up the middle to bring in grad student Tori Mueller to put the Riverhawks up 1-0. They added to their lead an inning later when grad student shortstop Mya Case was walked by Maine’s first-year pitcher Alysen Rieth with the bases loaded, resulting in a run. Maine came back with a run in the bottom of the fourth when fourth-year first baseman Izzy Nieblas slapped one to right and drove in second-year outfielder Katie Jo Moery off the single.
There was no other scoring from either side until the final inning of the contest. In the bottom of the seventh, fifth-year infielder Kelby Drews hit a double to right, which drove first-year infielder Madison Hand in to tie the game up at two. With the winning run standing on second, grad student catcher Grace McGouldrick sacrifice bunted to get the runner over to third and it played out perfectly. This was the only time that she did not make it on base all day as she had two hits in the game.
With one out Moery hit the 1-1 pitch to deep second base and the very speedy McGouldrick was able to beat the throw to the plate and slide in safely to win it for the Black Bears. Rieth picked up her fifth win of the year as she shined for UMaine going all seven innings allowing two runs and only three hits and seven strikeouts. The performance helped her move to a 5-4 record on the year. For the Riverhawks, fourth-year closer Ryley White took the loss and saw her record fall to 4-3 after only recording one out and two earned runs.
The second game was not as kind to the Black Bears as they were blanked 5-0. The pitching matchup was again White for UMass Lowell and fourth-year Caitlyn Fallon for Maine. Fallon lasted five innings by giving up four runs and seven hits, bagging three strikeouts as well.
Maine was only able to reach base five times as they got four hits and a walk. First-year infielder Krista Francia, McGouldrick, Moery and Drews were the only players to record hits from the Black Bears in the afternoon. Lowell started the scoring in the first inning when they put up two right off the bat. Fisher hit a sac fly to center field which drove in third-year outfielder Elizabeth Frederick. Second-year outfielder Emily Tow was next up to the plate, and roped one up the middle to drive in Mueller. In the fourth inning, Frederick doubled to left center and drove in fourth-year outfielder Cayla Tulley. Later in the inning, Mueller singled and it drove in Frederick.
Fallon lasted one more inning after this and was replaced by second-year hurler Alexandra Gruitch. In the sixth, Gruitch allowed a run to UML when Case reached home via an error. This went down as an unearned run as Frederick scored again.
Sunday’s game was yet another heartbreaker for the Black Bears, with the group falling to the Riverhawks 5-4 after a seventh-inning UML offensive explosion that erased a 4-0 lead for the home side. The team moves to 3-7 in conference play as they travel to Boston University to take on the Terriers this week in a doubleheader on Tuesday.