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Softball Clinches Second Seed in America East Tournament, Splits Pair with Hartford
Kristi Troster went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three runs in the doubleheader.
Baltimore-The UMBC softball team (30-15, 13-7 America East) clinched the second seed in the America East Championships Saturday afternoon with its 10-2 victory in the second game of a doubleheader with conference rival Hartford (21-25, 11-8 America East). The Hawks clinched a berth in the four-team tournament with their 4-2 win in game one.
The Retrievers will make their second consecutive trip to the America East Championships, which will be held at top-seeded
UMBC starter Ashley Gray (12-7) was dominant through the first three innings, retiring all nine batters in order on seven strikeouts and two foul outs. She struck out the first six batters of the game. But she ran into trouble in the fourth when right fielder Amanda Sais singled with one out and center fielder Kristie Rochette homered to right center to give Hartford a 2-0 lead.
The Retrievers tied it up in the bottom of the fifth on Gray’s two-out, two-run infield single, which came after catcher Krissy Licursi led off the inning with a single and left fielder Kristi Troster hit a ground-rule double to deep left. Two batters later, the Hawks intentionally walked first baseman Melanie Denischuk, setting up a bases loaded situation for Gray.
Stratton went the distance, struck out seven, walked three and allowed five hits to pick up the win. Gray suffered the loss despite striking out 14 batters in the game. She walked two and allowed six hits.
The second game was a different story, as the Retrievers came out slugging. Starting pitcher Amanda Fefel hit her 12th home run of the season, a three-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the first to give UMBC an early 3-0 lead.
In the second inning, Troster hit a two-out double, then scored on a single by second baseman Dana Shepherd. The Retrievers scored four times in the third to take an 8-0 lead on a three-run homer by shortstop Reilly Ward and an RBI double by Shepherd.
Ward’s home run is the 30th of her career, tying her with Denischuk for second place on UMBC’s all-time list. Shepherd’s double is her 18th of the season, tying her with Lisa Boone and Bonnie Nevin for most two-baggers by a Retriever in a single season.
Left fielder Kristen Cericola hit a leadoff home run for
But the Retrievers scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to win the game, 10-2. Right fielder Krista Kearns hit a one-out double, advanced to third on a single by Ward and scored on a single by Troster. Shepherd walked to load the bases, and center fielder Kali Shirk hit a liner to left field, which Cericola dropped to allow the winning run to score.
Fefel (12-3) picked up the victory after allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and seven walks and striking out seven. Brie Hout suffered the loss for
The teams play the rubber match Sunday at 12 p.m. at UMBC Softball Stadium. Before the game the Retrievers will celebrate Senior Day and honor their six seniors.