April 22, 2014

Bove's Big Day Lifts Softball To Huge LEC Sweep of Southern Maine

GORHAM, Maine—Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) put together the best doubleheader of her season, to help UMass Boston softball (12-19, 2-8 Little East) earn a huge Little East Conference doubleheader sweep of host University of Southern Maine (14-18, 2-9) Tuesday afternoon at Towers Field.

The junior outfielder finished 4-for-7 with four runs batted in and a run scored. A day after missing her first game of the season due to an illness, Bove hit a go-ahead RBI single in game one to lift UMass Boston to a 6-5 victory in eight innings, before sparking a four-run second inning in the Beacons' 4-3, five-inning game two win.

Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) added a huge two-run single in game two, while Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Conn.) scored three times to help UMass Boston earn their first and second Little East Conference victories of the year.

With the two victories, UMass Boston kept their Little East Conference Tournament hopes alive, as the Beacons sit just one game behind Keene State College, with four games to play, for the sixth and final playoff spot. 

Game One: UMass Boston 6, Southern Maine 5 (8 Innings)

UMass Boston rallied from an early 3-0 deficit with six runs over the final four innings to surprise the Huskies, 6-5 in eight innings.

Bove led the charge for UMass Boston with a pair of two-out hits. She crushed a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning to give UMB a 4-3 lead, before recording the game-winning single in the eight, to lift UMB to a 6-5 win. She finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBI.

Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) added a pair of hits, including her team-leading fourth home run of the season. The freshman catcher sits third in program history with her four home runs in a single-season and already ranks tied for eighth in the career record book.

Svenson added a base hit and two runs scored, while Haley Dutton (Milton, Mass.) reached base three times (one hit and two walks) and added a run scored and an RBI.

Junior pitcher Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) overcame a slow start, to earn her team-leading seventh win of the season. She scattered 11 hits over eight innings and was charged with five runs, four earned. Zullo currently sits third in program-history with her 24 career wins, just one win behind program-leaders Emily Wolf ('11) and Kara Willis ('12). 

Southern Maine built a 3-0 lead over the first four innings, thanks to an unearned run in the second and a timely two-run double from Leanne Reichert in the fourth. Reichert's put two runners in scoring position with no outs in the inning, but Zullo retired the next three batters to keep the deficit at three.

UMass Boston cut the deficit to 3-1 in the top of the fifth, as Dutton walked with one out and moved over to third on a Bove single. Dutton scampered home one batter later, when Southern Maine ace Stefanie Stockwell misplayed a Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) grounder.

Stockwell threw seven innings for the Huskies and allowed seven hits and three walks, while being charged with five runs, four earned. Freshman Desiree Benner came in in relief in the eight, and took the loss after allowing one run on a hit and a walk.

After a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth inning, UMass Boston took their first lead of the afternoon with a three-run sixth. With the bases loaded and one down, Dutton worked a bases-loaded walk to score Abby Goulet (Wales, Maine) to make it 3-2. With two down and the bases still loaded, Bove doubled to the warning track in right-center field to plate Svenson and Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) to make it 4-3 in favor of UMass Boston.

Raczkowski added a crucial insurance run in the top of the seventh, as the freshman crushed a home run over the left-field fence.

Southern Maine forced extra innings in the bottom of the seventh, as Kristen Duross hit a sacrifice fly to cut it the Beacons' lead to 5-4 and Danni Humphrey tied it with a two-out RBI single that scored Samantha Crosman from second base.

UMass Boston scratched across a run in the eighth inning though to take the lead for good. Svenson worked a leadoff walk and moved to second base on a Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Bove laced a single to left to score Svenson to make it 6-5 Beacons.

Zullo allowed a leadoff single to the Huskies in the bottom half of the inning, but forced the next batter to pop out and then induced a game-ending double-play, to give the Beacons their first LEC win of the year.

Game Two: UMass Boston 4, Southern Maine 3

UMass Boston raced out to a 4-0 lead thanks to a four-run second inning and Jillian Shepherd (Norwood, Mass.) held off a late Huskies push, as the sun quickly fell in Maine. 

Vecchiet delivered the big hit for UMass Boston with a two-out, two-run single to help the Beacons earn their second doubleheader sweep of the year. The senior second baseman finished 1-for-2 in the contest and now sits fourth in UMB history in career hits (119) and is tied with assistant coach Maria Nasta ('12) for third in career games played (137).

Morse added a pair of hits and a run scored, while Svenson, Dutton and Bove each crossed the plate once.

Shepherd hung on for her second collegiate victory and first LEC win, by allowing seven hits and three earned runs over five innings. The freshman right-hander struck out two and walked one.

After a scoreless first frame, UMass Boston struck for four runs on two hits and three walks in the top of the second.

With runners on first and second and two down, Bove plated Svenson with an RBI double to give UMB a 1-0 lead. After a Morse walk loaded the bases, Vecchiet followed with a single to center that allowed Dutton and Bove to come home. The Beacons added a fourth-run on a perfectly-executed double steal, to make it 4-0 after 1.5 innings.

Southern Maine cut the Beacons' lead in half in the third inning on a Cara Radino sacrifice fly and a Crosman RBI single.

The Huskies added another run in the fifth inning after back-to-back hits with two down.

Duross doubled to right-center field and scampered home on an RBI single from Humphrey. With the sun almost completely set, Shepherd forced a weak pop-up to the circle that she easily grabbed-to end the game.

UMass Boston has now won five in a row against the Huskies and improved to 10-29 all-time against their LEC rivals.

The Beacons will return to action Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., when they travel to take on Salem State University.