BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston softball earned a game two win to secure a playoff berth and two players set new career program records, as UMass Boston softball ended the regular season Saturday afternoon at the UMB Softball Field.
Rhode Island College 5, UMass Boston 4
UMass Boston 10, Rhode Island College 3
(UMass Boston 13-23, 5-9 Little East)
(Rhode Island College 10-20, 2-12 Little East)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After nearly rallying for a game one victory, UMass Boston softball cruised in game two and got some serious help for Eastern Connecticut State University to earn their program-record tying third-straight Little East Conference Tournament appearance. The Beacons needed to earn at least one more win than Keene State College on the day and succeeded, thanks to the Warriors sweep of the Owls.
Sophomore Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) earned her program-record setting 28thcareer win in game two. Junior Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) set the program record for career runs batted in (92) as part of a banner day for the Beacons.
GAME ONE RECAP
For the third time in their last four LEC doubleheader, UMass Boston fell behind 5-0 and saw a late rally fall just short.
This time around, the Beacons struck for one run in the fourth and sixth, two in the seventh, but ultimately left the tying run at first base.
Cassidy Gaeta (North Reading, Mass.) went 2-4 with a run scored and Vento added a run scored and two RBI on her seventh-inning home run.
In the circle, Greenspan went four innings and allowed eight hits and five earned runs before exiting with an injury. Sophomore Megan Hoben (Bedford, Mass. ) pitched extremely well in relief, striking out four and giving up just three hits in three scoreless innings.
Rhode Island College junior pitcher Briana Gough picked up the win after allowing 11 hits and four earned runs over seven innings.
Senior shortstop Nicole Venturini led the team with three RBI, while Cristin Chiaverini added two hits and two runs scored.
Rhode Island College took the lead for good in the second. With two on and two outs, sophomore Marissa Matias singled to right field to plate Chiaverini.
The Anchorwomen pushed their advantage to 5-0 in the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Venturini ripped a bases-clearing triple to right-center to make it 4-0. Erica Fluskey tacked on an RBI single to give the visitors a 5-0 edge.
UMass Boston began to chip away at the lead in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Gaeta and Greenspan recorded back-to-back singles and Bilotta followed with a single to shallow right field that plated Gaeta.
Rhode Island College tried to answer back in the fifth, but Greenspan stranded the bases loaded with a fly out to center.
The Beacons cut the deficit to 4-2 in the sixth. Braga and Gaeta pieced together back-to-back singles and Bilotta came through with a two-out RBI double to right field.
After a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, UMass Boston tried to come all the way back in the seventh. Kelly Danahy (Kingston, Mass.) opened the frame with a single and Vento followed with a laser home run to left field to set the program record for career RBI.
With the score now 5-4, Gough got the next two batters but Braga singled with two down. Gough induced a fly out to right to secure the first road win of the season for Rhode Island College.
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning, UMass Boston scored the next eight runs to take control and lock up a spot in the LEC Tournament.
Every batter in the Beacons' lineup contributed in the early innings as the Beacons scored in each of the first three innings and five of their six at-bats.
Bilotta had another big game out of the leadoff spot. She finished 3-5 for two runs scored and two RBI. Braga tacked on three hits and two runs scored, while Vento chipped in two hits, two runs, and one RBI.
Pitchers Drew Washington (Bordentown, N.J.) and Greenspan also added some key hits. Washington, who was forced into playing right field due to an injury, went 2-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Greenspan added a single and an RBI out of the nine-hole.
Greenspan cruised to her program-record setting 28th win. She allowed eight hits and three earned runs in the victory.
Rhode Island College junior Erica Fleming took the loss, after allowing 12 hits and eight runs (four earned) over 4.2 innings.
The Anchorwomen jumped out to an early lead in the first. With a runner on second and out, Emma Simmons laced a single to center to score Venturini. Senior Chelsea Schott followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
UMass Boston responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Bilotta reached on an error and the Beacons loaded the bases with walks to Danahy and Vento. Junior Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) made it 2-1 when she belted a long fly ball to left that easily scored Bilotta for a sac fly. Gaeta followed with a two-run single down the right-field line to give the Beacons the lead for good.
The Beacons added to their lead in the second. Washington opened the inning with a single, moved to second on a sac bunt, third on a groundout and raced home on Kiera Prusmack's (Houston, Texas) RBI bunt single.
UMass Boston blew the game wide open in the third inning. Vento opened the inning with a single and moved to third on a Braga single. With two runners in scoring position and two outs, Washington singled through the right side and raced all the way to third base on an error by the right fielder. Greenspan followed with an RBI single to make it 7-2 after three innings.
Vento pushed the lead to 8-2 in the fifth, when she drove in Bilotta from second with a two-out RBI single.
Chiaverini finally stopped the Beacons run in the sixth, with a one-out RBI single that plated Schott.
UMass Boston wasn't done though, as Bilotta laced a seeing-eye single through the right side to score Tori Dicenso (Lynn, Mass.) and Braga in the bottom of the inning.
Greenspan worked around a leadoff single to close out the Anchorwomen in the seventh.
BY THE NUMBERS
- By securing their LEC Tournament berth, the Beacons matched their longest run of LEC Tournament appearances with three. The Beacons also made the LEC Tournament in three-straight years from 2011-2013.
- Braga finished 6-8 on the day with three runs scored. She finished the regular season with a .475 average (19-40) in LEC games. Braga is second amongst all LEC players in batting average in conference play, just ahead of Danahy who hit .432 (19-44) which ranked third overall amongst LEC players.
- Vento not only set the program record in RBI but moved into sole possession of second place in program history in career home runs with 12. Her home run today was her first-ever home run at the UMB Softball Field.
- Danahy is one of three players in the LEC to end the regular season hitting .400 or above. She finished the day 2-4 with three walks, to enter postseason play with a .402 overall average.
- Washington snapped an 0-9 streak at the plate with her two, game two hits. Her game two hits were her first hits since April 7.
- After not recording a hit in her first 59 career collegiate appearances, Greenspan has recorded a hit in each of her last three games. She went 2-5 Saturday and recorded her first collegiate RBI.
- With the doubleheader split, UMass Boston improves to 9-53-1 all-time against the Anchorwomen. The Beacons have won six of the past seven meetings between the two sides.
UMass Boston will travel to take on top-seeded Plymouth State University on Thursday in the Little East Conference Tournament. The tournament will be a double-elimination format but the bracket has yet to be revealed. Check back on beaconsathletics.com for more information.