The fifth-seeded UMBC Softball team travels to Binghamton for the America East Tournament beginning on Wednsday morning. The Retrievers will be looking for their first America East title and first NCAA tournament appearance since 2002 when they won the NEC Tournament. UMBC (24-29, 5-11) will face No.4 Stony Brook (24-22-2, 11-6) in the first round of the double-elimination tournament on Wednesday at 11 a.m. The winner advances to face regular-season champion and No.1 seeded Binghamton on Thursday at 11 a.m., while the loser will play in a Wednesday afternoon (4 p.m.) elimination game against the loser of the No.3 Albany-No.6 Hartford game.
The Retrievers will be making their seventh appearance in the America East Tournament, their first time since 2014. Back in 2014, UMBC earned a four seed after finishing the season 31-22, 8-9 AE. In the tournament, UMBC fell 16-1 (5 inn.) to No.1 Stony Brook, and 2-1 to No.3 Binghamton to be eliminated.
UMBC and Stony Brook played a three-game series in Baltimore, March 25-26, that opened America East play for both teams. The Retrievers took the first game, 6-3, to earn their first win against the Seawolves since 2011. In the game, junior pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) kept Stony Brook in-check early, with three perfect innings, allowing UMBC (13-15, 1-1) to take the lead in the bottom of the third. Senior shortstop Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md/Seton Keough) worked a two-out walk and moved to third on an infield single by junior third baseman Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) and an error on the play. Sophomore first baseman Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) would bring home O'Malley with a single through the left side to make it 1-0. Lesko and Jackson would then both score on a double off the bat of Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) to make it 3-0.
Stony Brook would scratch away at the lead and eventually tie it in the top of the sixth, but the Retrievers would respond immediately. Senior catcher Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Md./South River) would be hit by a pitch with one out and Shayna Rider (Westminster, Md./Delone Catholic) would come in to pinch run. Junior second baseman Jaclyn Buckley(Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional) would follow with a single, and then, after a strikeout, Alexander's heroics would give UMBC a 4-3 lead. Freshman leftfielder Morgan Peyou(Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) would follow with a first-pitch double into left to extend the lead to 6-3, and the Retrievers would hold on and win by that score. The Seawolves would win the final two games , 8-0 (6 inn.) and 7-0, to take the series.
Scouting Stony Brook (24-22-2, 11-6)
The Seawolves are paced offensively by senior catcher Allie Pisciotta who is batting .387 (sixth in the America East) with nine homers and 35 RBI to along with a .658 slugging percentage. Senior Jane Sallen anchors the pitching staff with a 15-13 record and four saves to go with her 3.24 ERA. Emily Neales is second in the rotation with a 9-7 record, 3.77 ERA, and she also has four saves.
For more information on the Retrievers' 2016 season, read the game notes linked at the top of the article.
All games of the Tournament will be broadcast on AmericaEast.TV, with live stats provided at AmericaEast.com's Championship Central. Fans are also encouraged to follow @UMBCSoftball on twitter for up to the minute updates.