Sunday, April 26, 2009

University of Albany's Kristine Bill's Seventh-Inning Grand Slam Caps Softball's 11-8 Comeback Victory Over Maine - UAlbany Sports 2009

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Orono, Maine – Kristine Bill’s grand slam in the seventh inning lifted UAlbany to an 11-8 victory over Maine in America East Conference softball action at Kessock Field on Sunday, April 26. The Great Danes trailed the entire game before plating seven runs in the final frame. In addition, Leah McIntosh set the Division I school record for career strikeouts in the winning effort.

Maine (30-21, AE 10-8) took an early 1-0 lead when Kristen Calvetti singled to right with two runners on base in the bottom of the first inning. McIntosh started off the second inning strong by fanning Stephanie George and then Kristin Allen to break Casey Hallloran’s Division I program record with her 596th career strikeout.

However, the Black Bears added to their lead shortly afterwards by plating four more runs in the frame to go up by five. Ashley Waters and Terren Hall had two-RBI doubles before the third out was recorded.

UAlbany (31-12, AE 11-5) rallied back by scoring four times in the top half of the third. Bill drew a one-out walk, and scored the Great Danes’ first run on the next play when Andrianna Walraven doubled to left field. Nicole Kothe then followed up with a triple to plate Walraven.

Meagan Butsch, who hit two home runs yesterday and set the single-season and all-time school records in the process, earned a free pass to first on the next play to put runners on the corners for Jess Bergin. The sophomore sacrificed Butsch over to second, and Gina Mason then made it a one-run ballgame when she doubled to center. Ashley Kelley, who relieved Jenna Balent after Bergin’s sacrifice, struck out the next batter to end any further threat.

UAlbany put itself in a great position to take its first lead in the top of the fifth. Kothe singled, Butsch walked and Bergin had an infield hit to load the bases with only one out. However, Kelley got out of the jam by striking out Mason and forcing Kat Smith to fly out to center.

The Great Danes made another effort to tie the score in the sixth. Bailey Van Deest and Walraven each hit singles, but Kelley once again was able to induce the third out to keep the Black Bears ahead by a single run. Maine responded by pushing a pair of runs across in the sixth on a two-RBI double by Kali Burnham.

With one last chance in the top of the seventh, UAlbany made another attempt at a rally. Butsch and Bergin singled, and Mason belted her second double of the contest to send Butsch home for the fifth run. Batting with two runners in scoring position and no outs, Kat Smith reached on a fielder’s choice to score Mason and close the gap to a run. On the next play, Michelle Connors tied up the score with a single, chasing Kelley out of the ballgame before an out could be recorded in the frame.

After Van Deest was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Bill came through by blasting her first grand slam and second homer of her career to give the Great Danes their first lead of the game, 11-7. Maine’s attempt at a last-chance rally fell short in the bottom of the seventh, which allowed UAlbany to end the weekend in third place with its 11th conference win of the season.

McIntosh went the distance for the Great Danes and improved to 18-3 this year with the victory. She yielded 12 hits, eight runs (seven earned) and struck out three. The junior has now fanned 597 batters in her career, bettering Halloran’s mark of 595.

Balent, who had two wins in the circle for the Black Bears yesterday, lasted 2.2 innings in her third start of the weekend series. She gave up four hits, four runs which were all earned, two walks and struck out three. Kelley pitched 3.1 innings of relief, surrendering eight hits, five runs which were all earned, and one walk while fanning four. She was credited with the loss to drop to 7-7 this season. Cayleigh Montano pitched one inning. She gave up one hit and two runs which were earned.

UAlbany returns to action on Tuesday, April 28 when it travels to face cross-town rival Siena for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.

UAlbany (31-12, AE 11-5) 004 000 7 11 13 1
Maine (30-21, AE 10-8) 140 002 1 8 12 0

UAlbany: Leah McIntosh and Kat Smith.
Maine: Jenna Balent, Ashley Kelley (3), Cayleigh Montano (7) and Stephanie George.

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