BOSTON--The fourth-seeded UMBC softball team (25-23, 8-10 AE) takes on top-seeded and two-time defending champion Boston University (32-16, 14-4 AE) on the first day of the America East Championship Thursday at 1 p.m. The Retrievers return to the four-team double-elimination tournament for the fifth time in the last six years after missing out last season. All games will be broadcats online via WTBU Radio.
Retrievers at America East Championships
* UMBC returns to the America East Championship in 2011 after missing the four-team tournament last season for the first time since 2005. The Retrievers had made four in a row from 2006-09 before finishing sixth in 2010.
* UMBC is 4-8 all-time at the America East championship and advanced to the finals as the No. 2 seed in 2007 before falling to two-time defending champ and fourth-seeded Albany. The Retrievers debuted in the tournament as the No. 3 seed in 2006 and earned the fourth seed in both 2008 and 2009. UMBC won at least one game in each of its first three championships before going 0-2 in 2009.
* The Retrievers were picked to finish sixth in the 2011 preseason poll, but UMBC went 8-10 in America East action and enters the four-team double-elimination tournament as the fourth seed. The Retrievers had a bye the final weekend of the regular season but earned the final spot in the championship when Hartford beat fifth-place Maine (7-10) twice.
* UMBC faces top-seeded Boston University in the first game of the championship. The Retrievers were 1-2 against the Terriers during the regular season. UMBC went a combined 2-7 against the three teams in the tournament, losing all three to No. 2 Albany and dropping two of three to No. 3 Binghamton.
UMBC VS. BOSTON U.: The Retrievers batted just .214 against the Terriers at BU Softball Field April 9-10. UMBC won the second game of the series, 5-1, but dropped the other two games, 8-2 and 5-3 in eight innings. Freshman shortstop Jessica Warner went 6-for-10 with three doubles and a home run in the series, while junior first baseman Katie Fergusonhomered twice. Senior Stephanie Weigman allowed just four earned runs and struck out eight in 14.1 innings, going 1-1. UMBC is 6-19 all-time against Boston U., and the Terriers have taken 15 of the last 18 meetings.
UMBC VS. ALBANY: The Retrievers struggled against the Great Danes in the three-game sweep, batting just .159 and getting outscored, 22-2. Senior second baseman Lauren Brummell went 4-for-8 with a double; she is a career .326 hitter (15-for-46) with three doubles and a home run in 15 games against Albany. UMBC is 7-23 all-time against Albany, and the Great Danes have taken 14 of the last 17 meetings.
UMBC VS. BINGHAMTON: The Bearcats outscored the Retrievers, 23-8, taking two of three in Baltimore. Senior second baseman Lauren Brummell went 5-for-9 in the series, while junior catcher Angela Yannone drove in four runs. Brummell is a career .370 hitter (17-for-46) with four doubles and two homers in 13 games against Binghamton, while senior designated player Lauren O¡¯Malley is batting .423 (11-for-26) in nine contests. UMBC is 21-10 all-time against Binghamton, but the Bearcats have taken four of the last five meetings.
ALL-CONFERENCE QUARTET: Four Retrievers were named to either the America East All-Conference first or second team on Wednesday. Senior second baseman Lauren Brummelland junior utility player Katie Ferguson both earned first-team nods, while senior left fielderJulia Culotta and senior pithcer Stephanie Weigman were each tabbed to the second team.
ROOKIE RAMBLINGS: Freshman third baseman Jessica Warner earned America East All-Rookie honors after batting a team-best .385 against league opponents.
HONOR ROLL: Senior pitcher Stephanie Weigman was named America East Pitcher of the Week twice this season (April 4, May 2), giving her four such awards in her career. In addition, senior left fielder Julia Culotta earned her first career Player of the Week award (April 4), and freshman third baseman Jessica Warner garnered a Rookie of the Week honor on April 11.
BICENTENNIAL: Senior second basemn Lauren Brummell became the ninth Retriever ever to collect 200 career hits with her leadoff home run in the second game against La Salle on April 25. She entered the day needing three hits to reach the milestone and went 4-for-6 in the doubleheader. She has a league-best 55 hits this season.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE: Senior second baseman Lauren Brummell leads the Retrievers and ranks fourth in the America East with 12 doubles this season, and she ranks second all-time at UMBC with 47 career two-baggers. Brummell, who set the school single-season doubles record with 20 in 2009, also ranks fourth all-time with nine triples and sixth with 72 extra-base hits.
IT¡¯S OUTTA HERE: Senior left fielder Julia Culotta became the eighth Retriever ever with 20 career home runs with her second blast against La Salle on April 26, and she is currently tied for seventh all-time at UMBC with 21.
POWER SURGE: Sophomore right fielder Ashley Scroggin leads UMBC and ranks third in the America East with 10 home runs in 2011. She is one of just 14 Retrievers ever to hit 10 homers in a season. Just a sophomore, she has already moved into UMBC¡¯s top 20 for career home runs with 11. Last season, Scroggin collected just one hit in limited action, but that one hit was a round-tripper.
RUNNING AWAY WITH IT: Senior center fielder Lynn Pronobis ranks seventh all-time at UMBC with 48 career steals, making her one of just 11 Retrievers ever to steal 40 bases in her career. She is 29-for-31 on the season, tied for the eighth-highest single-season total in school history, and her 29 steals are the most since Kali Shirk swiped 41 bases in 2006. The Retrievers are 65-for-79 in stolen base attempts this season, their most steals since 2006, when a Shirk-led team swiped 82 bases. UMBC stole just 47 bases in the last two years combined (25 in 2010, 22 in 2009).
WINNING IT ALL: Senior pitcher Stephanie Weigman became UMBC¡¯s all-time wins leader when she defeated Stony Brook, 6-1, on April 3. She did not allow an earned run and surrendered just five hits in the complete-game effort. Weigman now has 64 career victories. Weigman, who set UMBC¡¯s single-season wins record with 22 in 2009, leads the America East with 16 wins this season, and she is one of just three Retrievers ever to win at least 15 games in two different seasons.
WEIGMAN¡¯S WHIFFS: Senior pitcher Stephanie Weigman, who entered the season as UMBC¡¯s career strikeout leader, picked up her 700th career punchout on March 26 against Maine, and she now has 769 ¨C nearly 350 more than any other Retriever, as her closest competitor, Crystal Ray, had 422 from 1998-2000. In addition, Weigman fanned her 100th batter of the season against Mount St. Mary¡¯s on April 14, making her the only Retriever ever to strike out at least 100 batters in four straight seasons. She set the school¡¯s single-season mark with 293 in 2009.
SENIOR STANDOUT: Senior pitcher Stephanie Weigman was named one of UMBC¡¯s two Outstanding Female Senior Athletes on Monday at the varsity awards banquet, recognizing her accomplishments throughout her four-year career. In addition to wins and strikeouts, Weigman is also UMBC¡¯s all-time leader in career innings pitched (743.2), games started (112) appearances (144) and complete games (71) while ranking second in saves (5) and fifth in shutouts (10). She appears in UMBC¡¯s single-season top 10 lists four times in innings, starts, appearances and strikeouts.
BALANCED ATTACK: One of the top offensive teams in the America East, the Retrievers have spread the wealth to balance the attack. Three different players - Lauren Brummell (55),Julia Culotta (52) and Katie Ferguson (50) - have 50 hits apiece, the most Retrievers to reach 50 since 2006. Also for the first time since 2006, six players have at least 25 RBI - Culotta (33), Ferguson (29), Ashley Scroggin (29), Angela Yannone (29), Jessica Warner(26), Brummell (25); three players have scored 30 runs - Culotta (37), Ferguson (36), Lynn Pronobis (30); and six players have hit five homers - Scroggin (10), Culotta (9), Ferguson (8), Brummell (5), Warner (5), Yannone (5).
ON-BASE MACHINE: Senior left fielder Julia Culotta, who ranks third in the America East with a .512 on-base percentage - the third-highest single-season mark in UMBC history - has reached base safely in 41 out of 48 games this season, as she has walked 31 times, second-most in the league and tied for the third-most ever by a Retriever, to go along with 52 hits.