BALTIMORE – After having the midweek off from games, the UMBC softball team travels a day early to head up to Connecticut to take on America East rival Hartford for a three-game weekend series. Due to forecasted wet weather in the Hartford area, the Retrievers and Hawks have moved the series up one day and will play a doubleheader on Friday before returning on Saturday for a single game.
UMBC leads the all-time series with Hartford, 16-9, and has won the past five meetings after sweeping all three games last season in Baltimore. The Hawks began the series with four consecutive wins, but have only managed a winning streak against the Retrievers one other time, winning the series finale in 2006 and the series opener in 2007. UMBC has won the season series each of the last four series since losing the three-game set with Hartford in 2007, 2-1.
SCOUTING THE RETRIEVERS
UMBC is 17-22 overall and 1-8 in America East play this season but has dropped its last seven games dating back to Apr. 3 against Georgetown. Prior to that, the Retrievers had won six of seven games, including a dramatic walk-off win over conference rival Albany on Mar. 26.
Sophomore third baseman Jessica Warner (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) leads the Retriever offense this year with a .373 average (44-for-118) and 24 RBIs. In addition, she leads the team and is second in the America East with 10 homeruns.
Supporting Warner at the plate, two time America East Rookie of the Week Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) leads the league with 12 doubles in 2012. The freshman catcher/first baseman is second on the team with a .359 average (42-for-117) and 21 RBIs.
In the circle, senior Katie Ferguson (North East, Md./North East/Cecil CC) leads the Retrievers with eight wins and a 2.95 ERA. The right-hander has struck out a team-best 78 batters while holding opponents to a .235 batting average.
SCOUTING THE HAWKS
Hartford is 5-34 overall and 0-9 in the America East after dropping a doubleheader at Siena on Wednesday. The Hawks have now lost 25 of their past 26 games with their only win coming on Sunday against Manhattan in the second game of a doubleheader.
Senior Shannon Simpkins paces the Hartford offense with a .278 average (15-for-54), but has only played in 19 games this season. Freshman Peyton Fisher has also been consistent for the Hawks with a .250 batting average (23-for-92) with eight RBs and 11 runs scored.
Junior Kate Wacyk has provided the power for Hartford, knocking in 20 runs on ten extra-base hits.
Siera Sheehan has led the Hawks in the circle with four of the team's five wins in a total of 23 appearances. The senior has thrown a team-high 105.1 innings and has a 4.52 ERA while striking out 50 batters.
Friday's doubleheader between the Retrievers and Hawks is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the Hartford Softball Complex. The two squads will return on Saturday for a single game set to start at 12 p.m.