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UMaine Softball Kicks off Home Opener

UMaine softball returned to the University of Maine Softball Complex on Saturday for their first home series of the season, starting off the action with a doubleheader vs the University at Albany. 

Fifth-year pitcher Caitlyn “Cat” Fallon drew the start for the Black Bears, while an equally experienced fourth-year pitcher Wendi Hammond stepped into the circle for the Great Danes.

Conditions were sunny and skies were clear throughout the day. However, the flags in center field were rippling strongly toward home plate, as a forceful inward-blowing wind significantly limited power hitting throughout the course of the afternoon.

The gusty conditions didn’t impact UAlbany’s offense too much, as they manufactured some small-ball offense in the first inning. Fallon allowed back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases, and she worked out of the jam with the help of her defense. 

Maine started the bottom half of the frame with a single of their own, as first-year infielder Kyli Hernandez lined a ball into right field and advanced to second as it tipped off the outfielder’s outstretched arm. However, the inning came to a quick end as the next batter lined out sharply to the center fielder, who doubled off Hernandez with a heads-up throw to second. 

The Great Danes drew first blood in the top of the second, when catcher Maddi Petrella singled to right field with the bases loaded and two outs. The ball skittered under the glove of the right fielder, third-year Gabby Papushka, resulting in all three baserunners scoring. 

Maine responded in the bottom of the second, as Papushka doubled with one out, scoring on a fielder’s choice a couple of plays later. Two more runs were scored on an ensuing wild pitch, and an RBI single by first-year outfielder Kenedee Giddens.

The game remained tied at three into the bottom of the third when the Black Bears took their first lead of the game on a timely RBI single by Papushka. Maine was only able to strike once as they left the bases loaded to end the frame. 

Fallon left the game after the fourth inning, finishing with a stat line of 4.0 IP, six hits, three runs, (two earned) three walks, one strikeout and one hit batter. Fifth-year right-hander Isabelle True entered the game in relief, inheriting a 4-3 lead.

True retired the first batter of the fifth, then hit third year Jordan Nastos with a pitch. Nastos came all the way around to score courtesy of a fielder’s choice and two wild pitches. Despite the shaky start, True escaped the inning without any further damage. 

The score remained tied at four until UAlbany’s half of the seventh and final inning. The Great Danes cobbled together a two-run inning on a hit batter, a wild pitch, and two singles. 

Maine went 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning, surrendering the first game of the weekend series by a score of 6-4.

Hammond was dominant, earning the win for UAlbany, finishing a complete 7-inning outing allowing six hits, four runs, (only two earned runs) three walks and seven strikeouts. The Black Bears reached base only once after the third inning on a walk issued to fourth-year catcher Kennedy Priest.

True got stuck with the loss, finishing with a line of 3.0 IP, two hits, three runs, one strikeout, three wild pitches and two hit batters. 

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