Softball Travels to Niagara for Season Finale

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    BALTIMORE – UMBC softball closes out its 2013 campaign when it hits the road for a three-game series at Niagara over the weekend. The weekend opens with a doubleheader on Saturday, May 4, with first pitch set for noon at Niagara Softball Field. The Retrievers compete in their season finale on Sunday at 11 a.m.

    UMBC (9-40, 1-17 AEC) closed out its America East slate and celebrated Senior Day over the weekend against Hartford. The Hawks swept the series, winning two of the three games by two-runs or less. The Retrievers brought the final game of the series to eight innings, as senior starting pitcher Heather Brown (Pasadena, Md./Northeast) threw seven scoreless innings of play, but an infield dribbler in the top of the eighth inning helped Hartford to a 2-0 victory.

    Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) leads the Retrievers offensively and ranks in the top-five in the league in batting average (.388), hits (50), RBI (35) and total bases (78). The second-year catcher has a team-best 15 multi-hit games and two-or-more RBI in 10 contests. Freshman Danielle O’Neill (Loathian, Md./Southern) has a team-best eight doubles on the year and is second on the squad in batting average (.284), hits (42) runs scored (24) and total bases (55).

    Brown leads the UMBC pitching staff in appearances (31), games started (24) and innings pitched (147.2). The senior has fanned a team-best 59 batters on the year and ranks ninth all-time at UMBC in career strikeouts (194).

    Niagara (14-26, 9-7 MAAC) has won nine of its last 10 games heading into the weekend. The Purple Eagles earned their program-record ninth consecutive win with a 2-0 victory against Iona on Sunday, but fell in the nightcap in extra innings, 4-3.

    Senior Alexis Wayne pilots Niagara’s offense, tallying 21 RBI and a team-best 42 hits, including 10 doubles. Wayne’s .336 batting average also paces the squad, while Becky Zill and Amanda Werth are each hitting at a .333 clip. Zill has registered a .390 on-base percentage on the year and has a squad-best 30 RBI.

    In the circle, junior Jennifer Sansano, the reigning MAAC and ECAC Pitcher of the Week, is in the midst of a 10-win season (10-10) and owns a 2.09 ERA. She leads the team in appearances (26) and innings pitched (134.0) and has 154 strikeouts on the year.