Softball Heads to Albany for Three-Game Series
Alison Duff hit two home runs and drove in five in the nightcap against Binghamton.
BALTIMORE—Coming off a pair of wins over America East rival Binghamton, the UMBC softball team (24-14, 4-4 AEC) will take on another conference opponent when it travels to Albany (19-9, 2-2 AEC) for a three-game series this weekend. The teams will play a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 1 p.m. and a single game on Saturday at 12 p.m.
On the Great Danes: Albany is 19-9 on the season and 2-2 in America East play after splitting a pair of games with Hartford last weekend. The Great Danes have won 10 of their last 12 contests. Infielder Meagan Butsch leads Albany with a .319 batting average and is tied with infielder Andrianna Walraven for the team lead with four homers, while utility player Kristine Bill and infielder Gina Mason have each driven in a team-best 16 runs. Walraven and outfielder Jessica Bergin have combined to steal 25 bases in 26 attempts. The Great Danes have outscored their opponents, 120-82, this season. Ace Leah McIntosh, the reigning America East Pitcher of the Week, is 11-1 with a miniscule 0.57 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 86.0 innings of work. She has held opponents to a .114 batting average and has pitched three perfect games on the year.
UMBC vs. Albany All-Time: The Great Danes lead the all-times series, 15-5 and have won six of the last seven meetings. Albany won two of three in the 2008 regular-season matchup and also took two games from UMBC in the America East Championships to knock them out of the tournament. As America East rivals, the teams have met at least three times a year since the Retrievers joined the conference in 2004, and they met once prior, a 3-2 victory for the visiting Great Danes in 2003.
Weigman’s Whiffs: With 17 strikeouts in two games against Binghamton on Wednesday, including a career-high-tying 12 in the nightcap, sophomore hurler Stephanie Weigman (Elkridge, Md./Archbishop Spalding) broke UMBC’s single-season record with 186, surpassing Crystal Ray’s previous mark of 172, which was set in 2000. A week earlier, she became the third Retriever in school history to reach 300 strikeouts in her career. Weigman entered the week leading the conference and ranking 23rd in the nation.
UMBC Career Strikeouts
- Crystal Ray, 422, 1998-2000
- Lauren Nicholson, 387, 2003-06
- Stephanie Weigman, 327, 2008-Present
Extra, Extra: Wednesday’s 12-inning 8-7 victory over Binghamton was the third-longest game in UMBC history. The Retrievers defeated Boston University, 6-5, in 16 innings on April 4, 2005, and lost to Maine, 3-1, in 13 frames on March 31, 2007. All three epic contests were the opening game of a doubleheader, and all took place at UMBC Softball Stadium.
Home Run Heroics: The Retrievers came through with the long ball when they needed it most in the extra-inning win over Binghamton on Wednesday. Down to their last out in a one-run game, sophomore second baseman Lauren Brummell (Hanover, Va./Hanover) belted her third home run of the season over the left field fence to tie the score at 6-6. Then in the 10th, after she surrendered the go-ahead homer in the top of the inning, junior pitcher Amanda Fefel (Baltimore, Md./Catonsville) atoned by smashing her eighth round-tripper of the year to again knot the score at 7-7. Finally, with two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the 12th, sophomore first baseman Malorie Weller (Round Hill, Va./Loudoun Valley/Kennesaw State) smashed a walk-off home run to right field to give the Retrievers the 8-7 victory.
Home Sweet Home: The Retrievers are 22-5 and batting .324 as a team in the friendly confines of UMBC Softball Stadium this season. Fefel is batting .476 (39-for-82) with 14 extra-base hits and 26 RBI at home, while Brummell is hitting .391 (36-for-92) with 17 extra-base hits and 22 runs scored and sophomore designated player Lauren O'Malley (Pasadena, Md./Archbishop Spalding) is batting .351 (26-for-74) with 14 RBI. On the mound, Weigman is 13-3 with a 2.06 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 108.2 innings of work.
It Takes Two: The Retrievers have belted 63 doubles on the season, led by Brummell with 15 and Weller with 11. Brummell entered the week ranking 13th in the NCAA in doubles per game (0.39), while UMBC ranked 20th as a team (1.56). Brummell’s 15 two-baggers are the most ever by a Retriever sophomore, surpassing Lisa Boone’s 14 in 2001, and they are the eighth-highest single-season total ever at UMBC.
UMBC Single-Season Doubles
- Dana Shepherd, 19, 2007
- Lisa Boone, 18, 2002
- Bonnie Nevin, 18, 2002
- Amy Wolff, 17, 1997
- Reilly Ward, 17, 2006
- Deanna Vecchio, 16, 2002
- Christy Sheppard, 16, 2003
- Lauren Brummell, 15, 2009
- 4 Tied at 14
Milestone Watch: Fefel reached a pair of milestones last weekend at Boston University, picking up her 150th career hit and her 100th career RBI. She also became the fifth player in school history to club 25 home runs with her grand slam against Maine on March 29, and her homer in the 10th inning against Binghamton on Wednesday was the 50th extra-base hit of her career. In the circle, she became UMBC’s 10th pitcher ever to win 25 games when she earned the victory in the first game against Morgan State, just one week after Weigman joined the club by defeating Towson. In addition, Fefel struck out the 200th batter of her career against the Bears, becoming the eighth Retriever ever to reach that mark.
In a Pinch: Freshman first baseman Kaela Mason (Bel Air, Md./Harford Tech) leads the Retrievers with six pinch hits in 18 at-bats (.333). Two of them came in one week – an RBI double that started a three-run rally in the first game against Towson, and a three-run home run in the series opener against Maine that tied the game in the sixth inning. Mason’s heroics led to an America East Rookie of the Week nod.
Hot Hitting: UMBC is batting .295 as a team this season, and five of the seven players with at least 80 at-bats are hitting better than .300. Fefel (.436) entered the week leading the America East and ranking 15th in the nation in batting average, while the Retrievers were ranked 42nd in the country as a team.
Power Surge: Mason became the 11th different Retriever to hit a home run this season with her pinch-hit bomb against Maine on March 28. It marks just the second time in school history that as many as 10 different players have gone yard, as the Retrievers set a school record with 14 in 2006 on their way to 80 homers on the season, another school mark.
Coming Through in the Clutch: The Retrievers are hitting .348 with runners in scoring position, including .392 with the bases loaded and .551 with a runner on third and less than two outs. In addition, with two outs in the inning, UMBC is batting .281 with 71 RBI, led by Weller’s 14 two-out RBI.