Vestal, N.Y. – The UMBC softball team (22-28, 5-10 America East) will begin the 2017 America East Tournament as the fifth-seed as they face off against the fourth-seeded Albany Great Danes (23-15, 8-7 AE) on the campus of Binghamton University on Wednesday, May 10 at 11:00 am.
The Retrievers ended regular season play with a sweep of Hartford in heroic fashion, on multiple occasions. While facing multi-run deficits going into the seventh inning of both games, UMBC relied on the bats of Toni Santonastasso (Canonsburg, Pa./Pope John XXIII Regional) and Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) to walk off each game. First, it was Santonastasso's walk off grand slam with one out and down three to win the first game, 9-8. It was then Lesko's turn, as she took a 2-2 pitch to the right center gap to double in Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) to win the Senior Day game, 4-3.
UMBC is being lead at the plate by Maddie Daigneau (New River, Ariz./Boulder Creek), who is leading the team in average (.379), hits (61), and is one of four players tied for third on the team in RBI with 19. Lesko supplies the power for the team as she holds the lead for home runs and RBI with 8 and 27, respectively. Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) holds down the pitching staff, as she is the leader in wins (9), strikeouts (65), and ERA (2.90). Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) has the team-high in innings pitched with 99.1.
Scouting the Great Danes:
Albany is coming off a sweep of Maine to end their season, as they took the two games with scores of 2-0 and 6-5 in game one and two respectively. Elizabeth Snow leads the team in hitting, as she holds a .427 batting average with a team high 12 home runs and 44 RBI. Bailey Turner guides the Great Danes in the circle, as she holds an 8-5 record with a team-high 10 complete games and 91 innings pitched. Celeste Verdolivo leads the team in ERA (3.51) and strikeouts (72).
All Time Series:
UMBC and Albany have met a total of 47 times, with Albany holding a 37-10 lead. They had a three game series earlier this season in Albany, where UMBC dropped two of three to the Great Danes.
The winner of this game will face the number one seed Binghamton on Thursday, May 11 at 11:00 am, as the loser of this game will play the loser of third-seeded Stony Brook and sixth-seeded Hartford later in the day Wednesday at 4:00 pm.