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Up and down week for Black Bears softball

UMaine softball defeats UMass Lowell in extra innings

By: Griffin Stockford

The America East leading University of Maine softball team defeated the University of Massachusetts River Hawks 5-4 in extra innings on Thursday. The winning run came on a single by third-year first baseman Kristen Niland, which brought home first-year Emily Gilmore from second base.

Third-year Rachel Carlson got things started for the Black Bears in the bottom of the first, with an infield single off of fourth-year UMass pitcher Lauren Ramirez. She then advanced to second on a wild pitch and then to third on a passed ball. After fourth-year catcher Rachel Harvey walked, Harvey tried to steal second and when the catcher’s throw sailed into centerfield, Carlson waltzed into home with the first run of the game.

In the top of the second, the River Hawks responded with a run of their own when fourth-year Emily O’Brien scored on an error by Niland to make it 1-1.

In the bottom half of the inning, Maine tacked on three more runs. Niland started things off with a single and advanced to third on a single by fourth-year right fielder Chloe Douglass. After a double by second-year Lauren German and a single by third-year left fielder Erika Leonard, both Niland and Douglass had come home to score. German then scored on a single by Harvey for a 4-1 Black Bear lead.

UMass Lowell Head Coach Danielle Henderson then pulled Ramirez and put in second-year Kaysee Talcik to pitch, a move Maine Head Coach Mike Coutts said his hitters weren’t ready for.

“She (Talcik) had a really good curveball and a really good screwball and we didn’t really make adjustments on where we were standing on the plate,” Coutts said. “So a lot of it was us, I think. She hit her spots too.”

Talcik would not give up another run until the eighth inning.

The River Hawks were finally able to get to fourth-year Maine starting pitcher Erin Bogdanovich in the top half of the fifth inning. First-year Casey Harding and fourth-year Tori Alcorn scored on an error by Leonard in left field. Clinging to a 4-3 lead with only one out, Coutts went to the bullpen and brought in third-year Molly Flowers to pitch.

“It was the right time to make the change,” Coutts said. “They had gotten three straight hits and you could kind of feel that the momentum was changing a bit.”

UMass would score once more in the inning to tie it up 4-4.

Neither team would even reach second base again until the bottom of the eighth. After the first two Maine batters struck out to start the inning, second-year Meghan Royle doubled. Coutts brought in Gilmore to pinch run for her and Niland was able to bring her home with a walk-off single that was just off the glove of diving third-year UMass first baseman Vanessa Cooper.

“I just knew that I had to get something in play and hit the ball hard,” Niland said. “This was a must win game and that was the mentality I had. At all costs, no matter what, I was just going to get the job done.”

Flowers got the win for the Black Bears, going four innings with no earned runs. Flowers credited much of her success to the way her style contrasted Bogdanovich’s.

“I use my off speed a lot more than she normally does because she hasn’t really thrown as much,” Flowers said. “I just tried to keep them off balance.”

For a coach whose team just won their seventh straight game, Coutts put a lot of emphasis on improvement after the win.

“Fundamentally we have to play better than we did today. Today we looked like we haven’t played softball all year,” Coutts said. “We didn’t really play well today even though we won. We played not to lose today rather than playing to win so we have to change that mindset too.”

The Black Bears get no time to sit back and relax. They head to Binghamton University this weekend for a three-game series against the second-place Bearcats.

“We’re going to use this to motivate us. We know we do have to play better. We do need to feel better, pitch better, hit better,” Flowers said. “We can’t do these things against Binghamton and we know that.”

The River Hawks now prepare for a two-game home series this weekend against the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Maine and Binghamton have a doubleheader on Saturday, April 29 (noon and 2 p.m.) and play at 11a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.


Black Bear softball swept in doubleheader to Binghamton

By: Marcus Caliendo

After Thursday’s 5-4 walk-off victory against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the Black Bears extended their winning streak to seven games and have won 13 of their last 14 overall. Maine traveled to Binghamton for a three-game weekend series and would begin with a doubleheader against the Bearcats on Saturday. The Black Bears dropped both games, with the first game 6-3 and the second game 5-1. Maine’s record fell to 16-20 on the year, while Binghamton improved to 20-21.

Starting the first game was Bogdanovich for the Black Bears, while first-year pitcher Rayn Gibson took the mound for the Bearcats. In the first inning, Maine went down 1-2-3 as third-year outfielder Erika Leonard struck out and Carlson and Harvey both grounded out.

During Binghamton’s bottom half, the same result occurred at the top of the frame, when fourth-year outfielder Gabby Bracchi struck out, third-year infielder Stephanie Bielec grounded out and third-year outfielder Jessica Rutherford also struck out.

In the second inning, second-year infielder Alyssa Derrick led off with a walk, followed by the next two batters in fourth-year infielder Felicia Lennon and Royle, each fouling out. Niland singled to center to put two runners on and fourth-year outfielder Chloe Douglass walked to load the bases. The threat ended when third-year infielder Sarah Coyne grounded out.

For the bottom of the frame, third-year infielder Kate Richard led off with authority and hit a bomb to right to give the Bearcats a 1-0 lead. This was Richard’s ninth home run of the season. The next batter was retired, as fourth-year outfielder Bridget Hunt grounded out. First-year catcher Sara Herskowitz made it the second long ball of the inning for Binghamton when he homered to center to make it 2-0. This was Herskowitz’s fifth home run of the season.

Fourth-year infielder Crysti Eichner followed by grounding out and third-year outfielder Carrie Maniccia kept the offense rolling as she doubled to right center. The Bearcats found another run when Maniccia stole third and an errant throw from Harvey allowed her to score to make it 3-0. Maine finally got out of it when third-year infielder Jillian Bovitt struck out.

Heading into the third inning, Leonard led off with a walk and Carlson followed with a single to left to put two runners on. The next two batters struck out, as Harvey and Carlson were sent down. Lennon singled to load up the bases and Royle singled to bring in Maine’s first two runs of the game, to cut the deficit to 3-2. Lennon stole third to get closer as the tying run and Niland brought her in when she singled to tie it at 3-3. The threat ended when Douglass grounded out.

For the bottom of the inning, Bracchi led off with a walk and the next three outs were recorded as Bielec struck out, Rutherford reached on a fielder’s choice and Rutherford was then caught stealing second for the third out.

In the fourth inning, the Black Bears were sent down 1-2-3 as Coyne popped out, Leonard grounded out and Carlson flied out.

During the bottom half, Richard connected with a bomb to right center to give Binghamton the lead 4-3. The next two batters were retired, as Hunt grounded out and Herskowitz lined out. Eichner and Maniccia followed with singles. Eichner was thrown out at third attempting to advance a base.

For the fifth inning, Harvey grounded out, Derrick lined out, Lennon reached when she was hit by a pitch and their at bat ended when Royle flied out.

Bogdanovich sent down the Bearcats in order during the bottom half, as Bovitt struck out, Bracchi grounded out and Bielec popped out.

In Maine’s chance to bat in the sixth frame, they were unable to get anything going, as Niland flied out and third-year infielder Faythe Goins and second-year infielder Maddie Decker each grounded out.

Third-year pitcher Annie Kennedy would come on to relieve Bogdanovich and she would allow Binghamton to add on to their lead after a one-out double by Richard and Hunt tripled down the left field line to bring it to 5-3. Herskowitz was next, who grounded into a productive out as it brought another run to make it 6-3. The inning ended when Eichner grounded out.

During the last chance for the Black Bears, they were unable to muster any baserunners as Harvey grounded out, Carlson struck out and Leonard fouled out and Maine took the loss in the first game 6-3.

Bogdanovich went the first five innings, surrendering four runs with three earned on six hits, while striking out five and walking one to drop her record to 5-8 on the season. Kennedy came on in relief, going one inning as she gave up two earned runs on two hits, while striking out none and walking none. Gibson went the distance for Binghamton, as she yielded three earned runs on five hits, while striking out four and walking three to improve her record to 8-5 on the year.


Black Bears drop game two of doubleheader

After a tough loss in game one of the doubleheader, the Black Bears would go right back to action in game two. Flowers would get the call for Maine and fourth-year pitcher Shelby Donhasuer took the mound for Binghamton.

In the first inning, Leonard attempted a bunt to reach, but was thrown out. Carlson was next and singled to first base and was coincidentally caught stealing second. Harvey came up and flied out to send it to the bottom half.

Bracchi led off and drew a walk and Bielec followed by drawing a base on balls of her own. Rutherford was next and singled to first base to load up the bases and the Bearcats claimed their first run when Richard hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it 1-0. Hunt followed as she drew the third walk of the inning to load up the bases once again. Herskowitz came to the plate after, but was unable to produce as she struck out. The Bearcats kept it going when Eichner drew the fourth walk of the frame to force in a run, making it 2-0. The threat finally ended when Maniccia flied out.

In the second inning, Derrick flied out, Lennon reached with a single to left and was stranded there after Royle flied out and popped out.

During the bottom half, Bovitt and Bracchi both popped out, then Bielec and Rutherford both walked to put runners on first and second. Richard then fouled out to end the threat.

Going into the third inning, Decker grounded out and Coyne reached on an error committed by the Richard. After Leonard grounded out to allow Coyne to advance to second, Carlson tripled to drive in their first run to cut the deficit to 2-1. Harvey grounded out to end their plate appearance.

For the bottom half, Hunt led off with a walk, Herskowitz reached on an error committed by Derrick and the runners advanced to second and third. After Eichner grounded out and Maniccia struck out, first-year infielder Jaclyn DeLuca was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bogdanovich came in to relieve Flowers and she walked both Bracchi and Bielec to force in two runs, making it 4-1. Rutherford was next and she grounded out to end the inning.

Heading into the fourth, Derrick grounded out, Lennon walked and Royle followed with a single to put two runners on. Niland popped out and Decker singled to left, but Royle was thrown out in between the bases for the third out.

During the Bearcats’ at bat, Richard led off with a single and Hunt followed with one of her own. Herskowitz laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners and Eichner cashed in with a single to left center to make it 5-1. Bogdanovich then struck out both Maniccia and Bovitt.

In the fifth inning, the Black Bears went down 1-2-3, as Coyne grounded out, Leonard popped out and Carlson struck out.

The same result occurred for Binghamton in the bottom half, as Bracchi, Bielec and Rutherford all grounded out.

Heading into the sixth inning, Harvey led off with a single to right and Derrick followed by drawing a walk to put two runners on. Lennon unfortunately hit into a double play and Harvey advanced to third. Royle was unable to bring her in as she popped out.

The Bearcats sent Richard to the plate to lead off and she reached by drawing a walk. Hunt grounded into a fielder’s choice, as Richard was eliminated at second. Hunt attempted to steal second, but was thrown out. Herskowitz was able to reach when she singled to center and Eichner grounded out to end the inning.

For Maine’s last chance in the seventh inning to get back in this one, Niland lined out and Decker reached after she drew a walk. The Black Bears couldn’t muster any offense as Moore lined out and Leonard fouled out to drop the second contest 5-1.

Flowers went the first two and two-thirds innings, surrendering four runs with two earned on one hit and struck out two while walking nine to drop her record to 6-8 on the season. Bogdanovich came in to replace the starter and she went three and one-third innings, giving up one earned run on four hits and struck out two while walking one. Donhauser went the distance for Binghamton, as she gave up just one unearned run on six hits and struck out one while walking three to improve her record to 5-4 on the year.

Both teams return to action on Sunday, May 7 to complete their three-game weekend series in Binghamton at noon.


Softball Gets Past UMBC on Goins’ Pinch-Hit Homerun, 4-1

Maine overcame a three-run deficit to score four times in the seventh inning in Wednesday’s game against Holy Cross 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 fourth-year catcher Rachel 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, Maine’s second-year infielder Alyssa Derrick flied out and fourth-year infielder Felicia 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, which was followed by throwing out fourth-year infielder Jaclyn Buckley after a weak ground ball, then set down fourth-year catcher Kinsey Shifflett on strikes.

Heading into the third inning, fourth-year outfielder Chloe 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 third-year infielder Faythe 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 homerun, giving Maine a 4-1 lead. Coyne then grounded out to send it to the bottom of the fourth.

UMBC’s first batter Santonastass 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, 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, Santonastass 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 Santonastass 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 struckout 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 struckout one while walking two to drop to record to 9-8 on the year. Casagrand came on in relief, who went three innings and gave 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.

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