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Softball Heads to Stony Brook for Fourth Straight America East Championships; No. 4 Retrievers Take on No. 1 Seawolves Thursday
Krista Kearns is the first Retriever to compete in four America East Tournaments.
STONY BROOK, N.Y.--The fourth-seeded UMBC softball team (24-19, 12-8 AEC) takes on top-seeded and defending champion Stony Brook (35-12, 15-5 AEC) on the first day of the America East Championships Thursday at 2 p.m. The Retrievers earned their fourth straight berth in the four-team double-elimination tournament via a two-game sweep of Hartford last weekend. Follow the tournament action with live updates at the UMBC Dawg Blog.
The 2009 America East Softball Championship
Thursday, May 7
Stony Brook, N.Y.
Game #1: #1 Stony Brook vs. #4 UMBC, 2 p.m.
Game #2: #2 Boston U. vs. #3 Albany 4:30 p.m.
Friday, May 8
Game #3: Winner Game #1 vs. Winner Game #2, 11 a.m.
Game #4: Loser Game #1 vs. Loser Game #2, 1:30 p.m.
Game #5: Loser Game #3 vs. Winner Game #4, 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 9
Game #6: Winner Game #3 vs. Winner Game #5, 12 p.m.
Game #7 (If Neccessary): Winner Game #6 vs. Loser Game #6, 2:30 p.m.
Retrievers at America East Championships
* UMBC advances to the America East Championshps for the fourth year in a row. Last season the Retrievers’ earned the fourth seed with a 12-9 conference record. UMBC lost to No. 1 Albany, 4-0, in the first game, before defeating No. 2 Boston U., 5-3, in the second game, only to get knocked out by the Great Danes by the same 4-0 score.
* The Retrievers were picked to finish in a tie for fifth place in the 2009 preseason poll. UMBC went 12-8 in America East action and enters the four-team double-elimination tournament as the fourth seed. The 12-8 record is the Retrievers’ second-best conference mark in five seasons of America East competition, following 2007’s 13-8 record.
* UMBC faces top-seeded Stony Brook in the first game of the championships. The Retrievers were 1-2 against the Seawolves during the regular season. UMBC went a combined 2-7 against the three teams in the tournament, losing all three to No. 2 Boston University and dropping two of three to No. 3 Albany.
UMBC VS. STONY BROOK: The Retrievers batted just .208 against the Seawolves but held Stony Brook to a .212 average April 25-26 at University Field. UMBC won the first game, 5-2, but dropped the next two, 3-1 and 1-0. Senior third baseman Krista Kearns and junior right fielder Emily Thompson had three hits apiece in the series. Thompson hit the Retrievers’ only homer, a three-run shot in the victory. Sophomore Stephanie Weigman allowed just two earned runs and struck out 12 in 14 innings but suffered both losses. UMBC is 10-10 all-time against Stony Brook.
UMBC VS. BOSTON UNIVERSITY: The Retrievers struggled against the Terriers in the three-game sweep, batting just .155. Sophomore second baseman Lauren Brummell went 3-for-9 with a double, and junior Amanda Fefel had a homer and three RBIs. UMBC is 4-15 all-time against BU, and the Terriers have taken 11 of the last 12 meetings.
UMBC VS. ALBANY: The Retrievers batted just .188 against the Great Danes but hit four home runs, including two by Emily Thompson, who drove in four runs. Lauren Brummell went 4-for-11with a double and a homer and also scored three times. UMBC is 6-17 all-time against the Great Danes.
What a Pair: Junior utility player Amanda Fefel earned America East All-Conference First Team honors for the third year in a row, while sophomore second baseman Lauren Brummell garnered a Second Team nod. Fefel is batting .387 with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and a league-best 44 RBI, while Brummell is batting .367 with a conference-high 20 doubles. Fefel and Brummell rank third and seventh, respectively, in batting average in the America East.
Rookie Ramblings: Freshmen Kaela Mason and Becca Bernheimer were tabbed to the America East All-Rookie Team. Mason, a first baseman, is batting .255 with nine RBI in 51 at-bats, while Bernheimer, a catcher, is batting .269 with two doubles in 26 trips to the plate.
Pitcher of the Week: Sophomore hurler Stephanie Weigman was named America East Pitcher of the Week for the final week of the season on Monday. The award is Weigman’s second of the season, as she also earned the honor on March 16. Weigman tossed a pair of complete-game shutouts against Hartford to secure UMBC’s fourth-straight berth in the America East Championships. She allowed just three hits and struck out 19 in 11 innings of work.
Other Weekly Awards: Junior Amanda Fefel was named America East Player of the Week on March 16 after batting .588 with five extra-base hits and six RBI in six games. Freshman Kaela Mason earned America East Rookie of the Week on March 30 after batting .375 with a pair of key pinch hits, including a three-run homer and an RBI double.
Home Sweet Home: The Retrievers are 27-5 and batting .333 as a team inside the friendly confines of UMBC Softball Stadium this season. Four players with at least 50 at-bats are hitting better than .375, led by junior Amanda Fefel, who is batting .464 (45-for-97) with 17 extra-base hits and 30 RBI.
20/20: Sophomore hurler Stephanie Weigman became the first Retriever ever to win 20 games in a season when she pikced up the 6-1 victory over Binghamton on April 22. Current pitching coach Lauren Nicholson set the previous mark at 19 as a senior in 2006. Weigman is tied for the America East lead and ranks 25th in the NCAA with 22 wins this season. Weigman also ranks fourth all-time at UMBC with 36 career wins.
UMBC CAREER WINS
1. Lauren Nicholson, 57, 2003-06
2. Amy Sadowl, 43, 2003-06
3. Crystal Ray, 38, 1998-2000
4. Stephanie Weigman, 36, 2008-Present
T5. Jackie Ruffin, 35, 1997-2000
T5. Angie Amedro, 35, 1999-2002
Weigman’s Whiffs: Sophomore pitcher Stephanie Weigman is the first Retriever ever to fan 200 batters in one season, and she now has 284 strikeouts - the 11th-most in the NCAA - in 234 innings for a ratio of 8.5 strikeouts per seven innings. Weigman led the pitching staff to a school-record 379 punchouts this season.
UMBC Single-Season Strikeouts
1. Stephanie Weigman, 284, 2009
2. Crystal Ray, 172, 2000
3. Crystal Ray, 169, 1999
Weigman’s Whiffs, Pat II: With 19 strikeouts in two games against Hartford last weekend, Stephanie Weigman broke UMBC’s all-time record in just her second season, and she now has 425 in her career.
Going the Distance: Sophomore pitcher Stephanie Weigman has pitched 29 coplete games this season, surpassing Crystal Ray’s previous school mark of 23, which was set in 2000. Weigman also became the first Retriever ever to pitch more than 200 innings in a season, breaking Linsi Moy’s school record of 182.2, which was set in 2002.
It Takes Two: Sophomore second baseman Lauren Brummell hit two doubles on Saturday against Hartford to give her 20 on the season, breaking former teammate Dana Shepherd’s school record of 19 in 2007. Brummell’s 20 two-baggers lead the America East, and she ranks fourth in the NCAA with 0.39 doubles per game. In addition, the Retrievers have belted a league-best 85 doubles this season and rank 13th in the NCAA with 1.6 per game.
30 Rock: Junior first baseman/pitcher Amanda Fefel became the fourth Retriever ever to hit 30 home runs in her career when she launched a two-run shot in the first inning at Binghamton on April 22. She tied former teammates Melanie Denischuk and Reilly Ward for second on UMBC’s all-time list.
It’s Outta Here: With her home run against the Bearcats on April 22, Amanda Fefel also became the 12th Retriever ever to hit at least 10 home runs in the season, giving UMBC at least one player with a double-digit home run total in nine straight seasons. All 12 instances of 10 or more homers have occurred since 2001. Fefel’s 13 round-trippers in 2007 rank as the fourth-highest single-season total in school history.
On Fire: Junior right fielder Emily Thompson is batting .422 in 17 America East Conference games this season, the third-best mark in the league. During her current eight-game hitting streak, Thompson is batting .500 (12-for-24), and she has raised her average nearly 0.90 points since April 5, from .224 to .313. She has a hit in 13 of her last 14 games.
Top Dawg: UMBC leads the America East in runs (263), RBI (236), doubles (85), home runs (46) and total bases (645) and ranks second in team batting average (.290), slugging percentage (.458), hits (408) and walks (140).
Century Mark: Sophomore second baseman Lauren Brummell and senior third baseman Krista Kearns are both nearing their 100th career hits. Brummell currently has 98 base knocks, while Kearns has 96. Junior Amanda Fefel picked up her 150th career hit earlier this season and now has 165 after knocking out a career-high 60 in 2009.
Power Surge: A total of 11 different Retrievers have combined to hit 44 home runs this season, marking just the third time in school history that as many as 10 different players have gone yard. The Retrievers set a school record with 14 in 2006 on their way to 80 long balls.
Coming Through in the Clutch: The Retrievers are hitting .335 with runners in scoring position - led by junior Amanda Fefel (.509) - and .387 with the bases loaded. With two outs in the inning, UMBC is batting .296 with 102 RBI, led by sophomore first baseman Malorie Weller’s 17 two-out RBI. The Retrievers scored 11 runs with two outs against Hartford last weekend, batting .652, and they hit .636 with runners in scoring position against the Hawks.
Extra, Extra: The Retrievers’ 12-inning 8-7 victory over Binghamton on April 8 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 at UMBC.
The Difference a Year Makes: Through 53 games, the Retrievers have surpassed a number of last season’s totals, which were accumulated in 54 contests. A look at how the 2009 UMBC squad compares to its 2008 counterpart:
Hot Streak: UMBC enters the America East Championships having won two straight and seven of its last nine games. The Retrievers have outscored their opponents, 43-16, during that stretch.
French Nears 500: Head coach Joe French needs just nine more wins to reach 500 in his career. French has coached for 16 years at three different schools, winning 95 games in four seasons at Mansfield University, 119 in four years at SUNY-Geneseo and 277 in eight years at UMBC, and he is the Retrievers’ all-time winningest coach.