VESTAL, N.Y. – The fifth-seeded UMBC softball team (22-30) battled on the first day of the 2017 America East Tournament, but dropped a pair of heartbreakers to conclude the season.
The Retrievers dropped the first game to fourth-seeded Albany (24-15), 5-4 in 10 innings, before losing in the elimination game to No. 3 Stony Brook (17-28), 3-0, on a walk off home run.
In the first game, Senior Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) threw nine and a third innings of relief, giving up three runs, two earned, and four strikeouts. Three different players notched two hits, including junior Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) who continued her torrid hitting by blasting a first-inning two-run homer, her ninth of the year, to give UMBC an early 2-0 lead.
The Great Danes would get the two runs back with an RBI double and sacrifice fly in back-to-back at bats in their half of the first.
The Retrievers would take a 3-2 lead in the second after junior Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) hit a two-out bloop single to center to score Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central), who led off the inning with a single. Albany would tie it up at three-all after getting an unearned run in their half of the second.
The score would remain tied for the next three innings, until UMBC retook the lead in the sixth inning after sophomore Chelsie Delperuto (Syracuse, N.Y./Solvay) connected for a single to score junior Toni Santonastasso (Canonsburg, Pa./Pope John XXIII Regional) to make the score 4-3. Albany wouldn't go down easy, as a pinch hit home run would tie the game up in the seventh and send the game to extra innings.
Both teams would go scoreless in the first two extra frames,, until the tenth when a two-out double into the left center gap to brought home the winning run for Albany.
The elimination game would also end in walk-off fashion as Stony Brook hit a two-out homer in the bottom of the seventh to win 3-0, despite a brilliant performance in the circle by Lane. The senior went six and two-thirds innings, only walking one, in the tough-luck loss.
However, only four Retrievers were able to get a hit, with Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) leading the offense for the game going 1-for-2 with the only extra base hit of the game for the Retrievers.
Jackson would double in the top of the fourth to give the Retrievers' their best chance to get a run across. The senior third baseman would try to score from second when Lane followed with a single, but a great throw from the outfield got her hung up between third and the plate and she was eventually tagged out.
The game would go to the seventh inning tied, the second time in the day that UMBC was away and went into the bottom of the seventh in a close game. Stony Brook would manage to get runners in scoring position and nearly scored with one out, but Alexander would make an incredible throw from the outfield to nab the winning run at the plate. On the very next pitch, Irene Rivera would homer over the left field wall to end the UMBC season.