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Shepherd Breaks Extra-Base Hit Record as Softball Clinches Playoff Berth with Doubleheader Sweep at Maine
Dana Shepherd hit a triple and a homer against Maine, breaking UMBC's career extra-base hit record with 80.
ORONO, Maine—Senior shortstop Dana Shepherd broke UMBC’s all-time extra-base hits record with a triple and a home run, leading the Retrievers (23-27, 11-9 AEC) to a doubleheader sweep of America East rival Maine (11-38, 10-10 AEC) Saturday afternoon at Mike Kessock Field. With the wins, UMBC clinches the fourth and final spot in the America East Championships, which will take place May 8-10 at the highest seed. The Retrievers will make their third straight appearance in the conference tournament.
“It was a combined team effort today,” UMBC head coach Joe French said. “We swung the bats well and we were not to be denied. We had exceptional pitching and timely hitting with some big two-out hits.”
Game 1: UMBC 3,
The Retrievers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a pair of solo homers by Shepherd and first baseman Ashley Gray.
UMBC starter Stephanie Weigman was perfect through three innings before running into trouble in the fourth when center fielder Alexis Souhlaris led off the frame with a triple. Weigman got the next two batters on a grounder to third and a foul-out, but third baseman Terren Hall homered to tie the game at 2-2.
After the two-run first,
Weigman retired nine of the final 10 batters of the game and struck out the side in the seventh to earn her 13th victory of the season, evening her record at 13-13. She allowed two runs on four hits and struck out six without walking a batter in the complete game. Balent was charged with three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out five in the seven-inning loss.
Souhlaris collected two of the four hits off Weigman with a double and a triple. Five different Retrievers accounted for UMBC’s five hits.
Game 2: UMBC 6,
UMBC again took a 2-0 lead in the second game, as catcher Kali Shirk hit a leadoff home run and right fielder Emily Thompson hit an RBI double that drove in Shepherd, who singled and stole second base.
The Retrievers added two more runs in the third on a double by Gray and a pair of RBI singles by Brummell and center fielder Lynn Pronobis.
After stranding two runners in each of the first two innings, the Black Bears finally got on the board in the third when catcher Whitney Spangler led off the inning with a single and eventually came around to score on a passed ball, cutting UMBC’s lead to 4-1.
The Retrievers left the bases loaded in the fourth but struck for single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Shepherd’s one-out triple in the fifth drove in Pronobis with the fifth run of the game. It was her 80th career extra-base hit, surpassing Lisa Boone for UMBC’s all-time record. Gray hit her second solo homer of the day in the sixth to give the Retrievers a 6-1 lead.
Maine answered in the bottom of the inning with a one-out solo home run by left fielder Stephanie George to make the score 6-2, but the Black Bears could get no closer.
Gray (6-9) pitched the final 4.2 innings in relief to pick up the victory. She allowed one run on three hits and struck out five without walking a batter. Weigman was charged with one unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out three in 2.1 innings of work.
Balent again suffered the loss after surrendering four runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. Two
Shepherd, Brummell and Pronobis each collected three hits in the game, while Shirk and Gray had two apiece.
The teams meet again in the series finale Sunday at 11 a.m.