GORHAM, Maine—The University of Southern Maine limited UMass Boston softball to four hits in both games, to earn a crucial Little East Conference sweep over the Beacons on Thursday afternoon.
Southern Maine 7, UMass Boston 3
Southern Maine 8, UMass Boston 3
(UMass Boston 21-16, Little East 7-9)
(Southern Maine 20-15, Little East 7-7)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Beacons managed just eight total hits and six runs across 14 innings, to close out their conference slate at 7-9. With the pair of losses, UMass Boston will wait anxiously to see if they earn a spot to the six-team Little East Conference Tournament.
GAME ONE RECAP
Southern Maine struck for three runs in the first inning and held the Beacons offense to just one hit over the first six innings.
Ashley Alward limited the Beacons to just four hits and three runs (one earned). She also added seven strikeouts in her seven innings of work.
Offensively, Hannah Kenney led the hosts with three hits, one run and four RBI.
In the circle, Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) took the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) over 3.1 innings. Freshman Hayley Catania (Amesbury, Mass.) scattered four hits and two earned runs over her final 2.2 innings.
Southern Maine took control of the game in the bottom of the first. Brooke Cross opened the scoring with an RBI single and Kenney added a two-run, two-out single to push the lead to 3-0.
The Huskies added a single run in the third and pushed their advantage to 5-0 on Ashley Tinsman's RBI single in the fifth.
After falling behind 7-0 in the sixth, UMass Boston put together a rally in the seventh. Pawlina started the rally with a single and her pinch runner Britney Perkett (Pittsfield, Mass.) moved all the way to third base on a Huskies error. Bilotta put the Beacons on the board with an RBI single and Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) followed with a single to load the bases. UMass Boston scored two runs on the next play, as Cassidy Gaeta (North Reading, Mass.) hit a slow roller down the third base line and the ball was thrown away, allowing Prusmack and Bilotta to score.
GAME TWO RECAP
UMass Boston jumped off to a much better start, but the Huskies used a five-run, third inning, to take command and never looked back.
In the circle, Alexis Brown limited the Beacons to four hits, five walks and no earned runs over seven innings. She also struck out six in the win.
Erin Martin paced the Huskies offense by going 2-4 with two runs and four RBI.
Catania got the start in game two for the Beacons, but lasted just two innings. Greenspan threw the final four innings and allowed three hits and three earned runs.
UMass Boston took their only lead of the game in the top of the first inning. Bonilla reached first on a passed ball strike three, took second on a sac bunt and third on a steal. She easily scampered home after the Huskies failed to field Bilotta's ground ball cleanly. After Bilotta stole second, Prusmack slapped a single up the middle to drive in Bilotta.
Southern Maine scored an unearned run in the bottom of the inning and took the lead with a two-run second.
The Beacons tied the game momentarily in the top of the third. UMass Boston loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk and Bonilla raced home, after the Huskies threw the ball away on an infield pop-up.
The Huskies immediately answered with a double and RBI single to start the third, which forced the Beacons to go to Greenspan. Southern Maine scratched across four more runs on an RBI single and a Martin three-run home run to straight-away center field.
UMass Boston put baserunners on in each of the final three innings, but couldn't put together a rally.
BY THE NUMBER
- Bonilla became the fifth-player in program history to record 50 hits in a single-season with her single in game two.
- The Beacons continued to struggle offensively on Thursday. UMass Boston has scored three runs or less in each of their last five games and 10 runs total in that span. The Beacons have not recorded an extra-base hit in their last four contests.
- Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) set the program record for career at-bats in game one of Thursday's doubleheader. She broke Kaitlyn Morse's ('17) record of 487 in game one and now sits with 490 career at-bats.
- UMass Boston stole five bases in game two to bring their season total to 77 in 84 attempts. The Beacons 77 steals on the season are their most this century and are just nine shy of the program record set by the 1996 team (86).
- With the sweep, UMass Boston falls to 13-37 all-time against Southern Maine.
- UMass Boston currently sits fifth in the Little East Conference standings. The Beacons need to finish in the top six to earn a spot in next week's LEC Tournament. In the case of a tie, UMass Boston holds the tiebreaker over sixth and seventh place Western Connecticut State University and Keene State College because the Beacons swept both teams.
The Beacons will travel to regionally-ranked Babson College for their regular-season finale. The two teams will play at Noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday.