GW Colonial Classic Tournament Central
Dana Shepherd is nearing several career milestones, including 200 hits.
BALTIMORE—The UMBC softball team (1-5) heads to the nation’s capital this weekend to take part in the GW Colonial Classic. On Saturday, the Retrievers will take on Army at 9 a.m. and Canisius at 3 p.m. Sunday’s action features UMBC against host George Washington at 11 a.m. and the championship and consolation games later in the day. Keep up to date with all of the weekend’s action with GameTracker, which can be found at Tournament Central.
Last Time Out: Playing for the first time in 10 days, the UMBC softball team (1-5) dropped both games of a doubleheader to in-state rival Maryland Wednesday afternoon at Robert E. Taylor Stadium in College Park. The Terrapins won the first game, 5-1, and the second, 8-0, in five innings. The Retrievers’ season-long offensive struggles continued, as they managed just six hits in the two games. They had plenty of opportunities, however, as they walked eight times, but they left 14 runners on base. Senior Ashley Gray (Pasadena, Md./Northeast/Delaware State) went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI on the day, while sophomore Amanda Fefel (Baltimore, Md./Catonsville) pitched three solid innings in relief in Game 1, retiring nine of the 11 batters she faced with three strikeouts.
On the Black Knights: Army is 0-5 on the season but has not played since the season-opening Crowne Plaza Classic in Houston two weeks ago, where they faced three nationally ranked teams. Third baseman Erin McClain leads the Black Knights with a .333 batting average, while Veronica Barth has pitched the majority of Army’s innings and boasts a 3.78 ERA. Army was picked to finish fourth in the Patriot League preseason poll after finishing in the same position last season, when they posted a 15-36 overall record, including 9-11 in the conference. McClain and Barth were both first-team All-Patriot League selections in 2007.
UMBC vs. Army All-Time: UMBC holds a 1-0 series advantage over Army, with the teams’ only meeting coming at the Rebel Games in Orlando, Fla., in 2001. The Retrievers took that contest, 3-2.
On the Griffins: Canisius opens its season at the Colonial Classic this weekend. The Griffins advanced to the 2007 NCAA as the champions of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), and they were predicted to repeat in the league’s preseason poll. Shortstop Katie Miranto was named the 2008 MAAC Preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. She was joined on the preseason all-conference team by outfielder Jenny Maheu and third baseman Cameron Norton. Canisius returns 10 players from the team that finished last season 27-21 overall and 12-4 in league play. The Griffins won their 11th MAAC regular-season title and their 10th conference tournament title, and they earned their ninth bid to the NCAA Division-I Tournament.
UMBC vs. Canisius All-Time: The Griffins lead the all-time series, 2-1. The teams last met in 2005, when they split a doubleheader at UMBC. In the Retrievers’ 6-2 Game 1 victory, catcher Kali Shirk and shortstop Dana Shepherd, then freshmen, went a combined 4-for-7 at the top of the order.
On the Colonials: George Washington is 2-3 on the season after the season-opening Carolina Classic Feb. 8-10, and the Colonials have not played since. Outfielder Jackie Yaniga, the reigning Atlantic-10 Player of the Week, leads GW with a .563 batting average, but the Colonials, who are hitting .398 as a team, boast seven players who are batting .300 or better. Catcher Elisa Van Kirk leads the team with two homers and eight RBI. Amanda Gabriel has pitched the majority of the Colonials’ innings this season and holds a 3.13 ERA. George Washington was selected to finish seventh in the A-10.
UMBC vs. George Washington All-time: The teams split a doubleheader in Washington, D.C., last season in their first-ever meeting. George Washington took the opener, 5-4, in nine innings and UMBC won the nightcap, 5-2, in six frames. The second game was ended early due to darkness. In Game One, the Retrievers held a 4-1 lead after three innings, but the Colonials tied it up with a three-run sixth and won with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the ninth. The teams combined to score all seven runs of Game Two in the second and third innings. Right fielder Heather Bennett hit a two-run double in the second, while Jessica Taylor struck out five in the complete-game victory.
Softball Picked Third in Preseason Poll: The UMBC softball team was predicted to finish third in the America East Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Retrievers received one first place vote and 35 overall points in a vote of the league’s head coaches. Boston University, the 2007 regular-season champion, is the preseason favorite, as the Terriers received 47 points, including five first-place votes. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
Milestone Watch: Senior shortstop Dana Shepherd (Columbia, Md./Oakland Mills) is on the verge of becoming just the sixth player in UMBC history to record 200 career hits. She currently has 192 after the Maryland doubleheader. She is also close to becoming the eighth Retriever ever with 300 total bases, as she currently has 296.
Dawg Bites: Sophomore third baseman Emily Thompson (Niagara Falls, N.Y./Niagara Falls) and sophomore first baseman Amanda Fefel currently lead the Retrievers with identical .294 batting averages and .412 slugging percentages…. Fefel also boasts a team-best 2.55 ERA and .233 opponent batting average.