Head Coach Joe French and the Retrievers face five formidable foes at the Terrapin Spring Break Invitational.
BALTIMOREóThe UMBC softball team (4-8) will play five games at this weekendís Maryland Terrapin Spring Break Invitational at Robert E. Taylor Stadium in College Park, Md. Lehigh (13-1), Niagara (4-6), St. Peterís (0-7), Valparaiso (8-4) and the host Terps (19-2) will also compete. Follow all the action via Tournament Central.
Friday, March 14
11 a.m. UMBC vs. Lehigh
1 p.m. Lehigh vs. Valparaiso
3 p.m. UMBC vs. Valparaiso
5 p.m. Maryland vs. St. Peterís
Saturday, March 15
9 a.m. St. Peterís vs. Lehigh
11 a.m. UMBC vs. St. Peterís
1 p.m. Lehigh vs. Maryland
3 p.m. Niagara vs. Valparaiso
5 p.m. Maryland vs. Valparaiso
7 p.m. UMBC vs. Niagara
Sunday, March 16
9 a.m. St. Peterís vs. Valparaiso
11 a.m. Niagara vs. Lehigh
1 p.m. Maryland vs. UMBC
3 p.m. Maryland vs. Niagara
Last Time Out: The Retrievers hit five home runs in Wednesdayís doubleheader with Howard, including four in the first game en route to a 14-6 five-inning victory. UMBC dropped game two, 2-1. The Retrievers scored in all five innings in the first game and held a 9-2 lead after three frames. Senior Ashley Gray (Pasadena, Md./Northeast/Delaware State) hit a grand slam, and sophomore Amanda Fefel (Baltimore, Md./Catonsville) slugged two round-trippers in the game. Junior Krista Kearns (Santa Fe Springs, Calif./Santa Fe) accounted for UMBCís fourth homer, and she and Fefel went a combined 6-for-6 with six RBI and five runs scored. After the teams combined to score 20 runs in game one, they scored just three in the nightcap, all on home runs. The Retrievers struck first when Kearns led off the second inning with a solo shot. Freshman Stephanie Weigman (Elkridge, Md./Archbishop Spalding) breezed through the first six innings, retiring the first seven batters she faced and allowing just two base runners while striking out the side in the second inning. But with two outs and a runner on second in the top of the seventh, she allowed a home run that put the Bison on top, 2-1, and the Retrievers could not respond in the bottom of the frame. Weigman struck out a career-high eight batters in her second consecutive complete game.
On the Mountain Hawks: Lehigh is off to a program-best 13-1 start after winning nine of 10 contests at the Rebel Spring Games in Florida, and the Mountain Hawks enter the weekend on a seven-game winning streak. Lisa Sweeney leads the Patriot League with a .528 batting average. The two-time reigning Patriot League Pitcher of the Year is also 7-0 with a microscopic 0.64 ERA and 86 strikeouts in just 44 innings of work. As a team, Lehigh is hitting .344 and has outscored its opponents, 93-34, this season. In all, 10 Mountain Hawks are batting over .300, including Patriot League Rookie of the Week Carly Potock. Lehigh has won nine straight Patriot League regular-season titles and at least 35 games in each of the last seven seasons, including last year when the Mountain Hawks fell just short of their fourth consecutive conference championship and NCAA Regionals berth. Lehigh was also selected to win the Patriot League in the preseason poll, and in addition to Sweeney, also returns the leagueís reigning Player of the Year in center fielder Kate Marvel.
UMBC vs. Lehigh All-Time: The Retrievers lead the all-time series with the Mountain Hawks, 4-2, but they have not won since the first game of a doubleheader on March 12, 2000. Lehigh won the last meeting, 3-0, at the Delaware State Bash at the Beach in 2005.
On the Terps: Maryland, one of the early surprises of the 2008 softball season, is ranked 23rd in the country with a 19-2 record, but had its program-best 16-game winning streak snapped in a loss to Pittsburgh in the second game of a doubleheader on Wednesday. Infielder Sarde Stewart is the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week, and leads the ACC with a .385 batting average to go along with a team-best 20 RBI. The Terps are tied for second in the ACC in both batting and pitching, and Meredith Nelles boasts an 8-0 record and a 0.99 ERA with 61 strikeouts.
UMBC vs. Maryland All-Time: The Terps lead the all-time series with the Retrievers, 15-3, including a doubleheader sweep in College Park earlier this season. UMBC has not defeated Maryland since 1997, and the Terps have won 12 straight during that time.
On the Purple Eagles: Niagara is 4-6 on the season after winning a pair of games at the Spartan Classic last weekend in Virginia Beach, Va. The Purple Eagles swept the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference weekly awards this week, as infielder Jenna Baker was named Player of the Week, Brooke Viola was tabbed Pitcher of the Week and first baseman Teresa Healy earned Rookie of the Week. Healy leads Niagara with a .452 batting average, six doubles and 10 RBI. Tiffany McCrory has posted a 2-2 record with a team-best 3.10 ERA. The Purple Eagles were picked to finish second in the MAAC Preseason Poll.
UMBC vs. Niagara All-Time: UMBC leads the all-time series with the Purple Eagles, 5-2, in a young series that dates to 2004. The Retrievers won both meetings last season.
On the Peahens: St. Peterís is winless on the season at 0-7 after dropping two games to St. Johnís on Wednesday. As a team, the Peahens are batting just .132 and have been outscored, 52-4. Outfielder Samantha Gable leads the team with a .231 batting average, while Tricia Reingle has posted a team-best 3.71 ERA with 13 strikeouts. St. Peterís was picked to finish fifth in the MAAC preseason poll after placing second in the league in 2007, and shortstop Chrissy Gannon was selected to the preseason all-conference team after earning second-team all-conference honors a year ago.
UMBC vs. St. Peterís All-Time: The Peahens lead the all-time series with the Retrievers, 3-2. The teams last met at the Delaware State Bash at the Beach in 2006, a wild game won by St. Peterís, 14-11.
On the Crusaders: Valparaiso is 8-4 on the season after winning seven of nine games at last weekendís Rebel Games in Orlando, Fla., and the Crusaders enter the weekend on a five-game winning streak. Freshman Jill Jacobson is the reigning Horizon League Pitcher of the Week. Valparaiso is batting .289 as a team, with six players hitting better than .300. Outfielder Ashley Wolter is batting a team-best .424, while Andrea Zappia has posted a 4-2 record with a 0.83 ERA and 34 strikeouts. The Crusaders were picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League preseason poll.
UMBC vs. Valparaiso All-Time: Fridayís game will be the first-ever meeting between the Retrievers and Crusaders.