SOFTBALL HOSTS DEFENDING AMERICA EAST CHAMPION ALBANY FOR THREE GAMES THIS WEEKEND; GAMES MOVED TO SUNDAY AND MONDAY DUE TO RAIN
Krista Kearns leads the Retrievers with 87 strikeouts.
Baltimore, Md.-Defending America East softball champion Albany comes to town this weekend for a three-game series against the Retrievers. The doubleheader originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon has been moved to Sunday due to heavy rain in the Baltimore region. The first game will begin at 12:30 p.m., with game two scheduled for 2:30 p.m. The single game originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon has been moved to Monday at 12 p.m. The Retrievers are 32-9 on the season and have won eight of their last nine games.
A Look Ahead
The Great Danes are 18-3 on the season and 3-0 in America East play after sweeping Binghamton in both teams’ conference-opening series last weekend. Albany outscored the Bearcats, 24-2, in three games... The Great Danes were picked to repeat as America East champions in the 2006 preseason coaches’ poll... Maegan Larsen is hitting a team-best .515 and also ranks first with 31 runs scored, 35 hits, six doubles and six home runs, and she is second with 21 RBI... Ashley Rios is tops on the team with 22 RBI, while Amber Maisonet has 16 stolen bases in 19 attempts... Casey Halloran is 13-2 with a team-best 0.92 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 84.0 innings. She has held opponents to a .149 batting average.
Junior first baseman Melanie Denischuk (Poway, Calif./Hugh Sutherland (Carstaris, Alberta)/Indian River CC/Auburn) broke the school single-season home run and RBI records in the doubleheader against Georgetown on Tuesday. Her three homers on the day gave her 17 on the year, surpassing Lauren Hebb’s previous mark of 15, which was set in 2003. In addition, her seven RBI in the two games gave her 65 on the season, surpassing Kristie Pickeral’s 59 in 2003. Denischuk’s 17 roundtrippers tie for second in the NCAA in 2006 with Georgia Tech’s Whitney Haller.
The Retrievers combined to hit 10 home runs in the doubleheader against Georgetown, including six in Game Two. Denischuk and sophomore catcher Stevie Shore (New Carlisle, Ohio/Northwestern) each hit three, while freshman outfielder Michelle Olivieri (Brockport, N.Y./The Aquinas Institute) hit two in the nine-run second inning. Junior third baseman Reilly Ward (Olney, Md./Sherwood) also hit two in the second game.
Fourteen different Retrievers have hit home runs this season, a new UMBC record. Freshman outfielder Courtney O’Hara (Pasadena, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) was the 10th player to homer in 2006, breaking the old mark of nine set in 2003 with an inside-the park home run in the second game of a doubleheader against LaSalle on March 14.
Ward has hit nine home runs this season to give her 25 in her career, second-most ever at UMBC. Ward has also joined the Retriever top-10 list in several other categories, including runs (10th, 88), doubles (T-6th, 32), extra-base hits (T-4th, 57) and RBI (6th, 103). She also reached the 100-hit milestone with her first hit in the UMBC Kickoff Classic title game against Delaware State on March 5, a single in the third inning, and she picked up her 100th RBI with a two-run home run in the first inning of Game Two against Georgetown on Tuesday.
After stealing a school-record 45 consecutive bases to start her career, sophomore center fielder Kali Shirk (North Wales, Pa./North Penn) was caught stealing for the first time in her career on March 24. She is now 34-for-35 on the season, the fourth-highest single-season total in school history, and she ranks fourth all-time with 51 steals. The 45 consecutive stolen bases ranks 10th all-time in NCAA history.
Senior Lauren Nicholson (Audubon, N.J./Paul VI) is off to the best start of her career at 12-1, giving her a UMBC-record 50 wins in four years. Senior Amy Sadowl (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro Horsham) is second on the all-time wins list with 41. Nicholson and Sadowl are also 1-2 in UMBC history in innings pitched and games started, and Nicholson is also the all-time record-holder in complete games.
K’s for Kearns
Freshman Krista Kearns (Santa Fe Springs, Calif./Santa Fe) leads the Retrievers with 87 strikeouts, the sixth-highest single-season total in UMBC history. She pitched her first career no-hitter in the UMBC Kickoff Classic championship game, a 10-0 six-inning victory over Delaware State, in which she struck out seven batters and walked only two.
Sophomore shortstop Dana Shepherd (Columbia, Md./Oakland Mills) is hitting .528 with 28 hits, five doubles, three home runs and 22 RBI during her current 16-game hitting streak, the longest on the team this season and the fourth-longest in UMBC history… Denischuk has a nine-game hitting streak of her own, in which she is hitting .654 with 17 hits, two doubles, six home runs and 20 RBI… Denischuk and O’Hara were tabbed America East Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively, in each of the last two weeks, and they are first and second on the team in batting average in the last 15 games. O’Hara is hitting .692 with 17 runs scored and 11 extra-base hits, while Denischuk is hitting .578 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI… Shirk notched her 100th career hit with an RBI single to left in the third inning of the Retrievers’ 9-1 victory over Brown in the UMBC Dawg Pound Tournament on March 25… Shepherd also reached the 100-hit milestone this season with an RBI infield single in the fifth inning of UMBC’s 5-0 victory over Brown on March 30… Shore has 13 home runs in her career, moving her into a tie for seventh place on the Retrievers’ all-time list… Head coach Joe French became UMBC’s all-time winningest softball coach with the Retrievers’ 9-0 win over UMES on the second day of the UMBC Dawg Pound Tournament. French now has 172 wins in his UMBC career. He is two wins shy of 600 in his career as a collegiate coach in the sports of softball, women’s basketball and tennis combined… The Retrievers have out-scored their opponents, 317-128, and are hitting .351 as a team. Eleven batters are hitting above .300, and four are hitting above .400.