UPDATE: Softball Opens Conference Slate Saturday against Defending Champ Albany; First Pitch 2 p.m.
BALTIMORE, Md. – After starting the season with an 11-12 record in out-of-conference play, the UMBC softball team jumps into America East competition with a three-game series against defending league champion Albany beginning Saturday at the UMBC Softball Stadium.
The Retrievers and Great Danes will play a doubleheader on Saturday with game one's first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. and game two beginning approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. The two teams will return on Sunday for a single game, which is slated to start at 12 p.m.
Prior to the season, UMBC was picked to finish fourth in the America East while Albany was picked second, just behind 2011 regular season co-champion Boston U. The Great Danes also received two first place votes in the poll.
UMBC enters 2012 conference play with a 72-87 (.453) all-time record in America East competition after posting an 8-10 mark a year ago. The Retrievers began competing in the America East in 2004 and are entering their nine season in the league.
Albany leads the all-time series with UMBC, 23-7, after sweeping all three games a year ago in Upstate New York. The Great Danes have won five straight games in the series, and 14 of the last 17 contests with the Retrievers. UMBC last won the season series with Albany back in 2007 when the Black and Gold swept the three-game regular season series in Baltimore.
Scouting the Retrievers
Two-time America East Player of the Week Jessica Warner (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) is the spark for UMBC's offense with a league leading seven homeruns. The third baseman is batting .348 (24-for-69) this season with 16 RBIs and 13 extra-base hits.
In the circle, senior Katie Feruson (North East, Md./North East/Cecil CC) has been dominant as of late, throwing a complete games in her past eight starts. The right-hander is 7-5 in 2012 with a 2.43 ERA which ranks fifth in the league.
Scouting the Great Danes
Alexa Toole and Charlise Castro have been the catalysts for Albany so far, leading the squad with matching .378 batting averages. Castro has a team-leading 15 RBIs this season to go along with four homeruns, four doubles and one triple.
Brittany MacFawn leads the America East with a stingy 1.34 ERA in 47.0 innings of work this season. The right-hander from Orlando, Fla. is 5-2 in seven starts.