Saturday, May 9, 2009

University of Albany Softball Beats Stony Brook In Semi-Final, Loses To BU In America East Championship Final - UAlbany Sports 2009

Senior pitcher Cassidi Hardy tossed a five-hitter in leading Boston University to a 7-1 victory over UAlbany in the championship final of the America East Conference Softball Tournament on Saturday, May 9 at Stony Brook’s University Field. The Terriers, who earned an automatic NCAA berth, won their first conference crown since 2003 and seventh overall.

Hardy, the championship’s most outstanding player, was in complete in control in winning her third tournament game in as many days. She struck out one and walked none in improving to 25-5 in the circle and recording her 26th complete game this spring. Boston U. (41-16) became the third consecutive team to sweep all three tourney games en route to the title. Stony Brook and UAlbany also accomplished that feat in 2008 and 2007, respectively.

The Terriers built a 5-0 lead after three innings. Brooke Hudson and Emily Roesch put together consecutive doubles in the second, before Rachel Hebert added an RBI single. Shayne Lotito and April Setterlund led off the third with back-to-back home runs. Melissa Dubay singled and later came across on Nora Militz’s sacrifice fly.

The Great Danes, who dropped a 4-3 extra-inning decision to Boston U. in Friday’s first round, got on the scoreboard in the fourth when the America East co-player of the year Meagan Butsch belted a two-out home run, her school-record 16th of the season. Boston U. added two more runs in the sixth that were aided by three errors and a wild pitch.

“We are very disappointed with the outcome,” said UAlbany coach Chris Cannata, whose program had worked its way to the championship round for the fifth consecutive year. “However, we still have a lot to be proud of. We broke the school record for victories, and 38 wins is a great season for us. Getting to the championship game is a big accomplishment.”

In the loser’s bracket final that preceded the championship in this double-elimination tournament, Gina Mason slammed a three-run homer, her eighth of the season, in the fifth inning to lift UAlbany (38-16) past defending conference champion Stony Brook, 4-1. After a two-hour weather delay, Stony Brook (36-14) took a 1-0 lead in the second when all-conference third base Kelly Oberto hit a solo blast over the right-field fence. UAlbany tied the contest in the third. Jessica Bergin led off with a double, but Seawovles’ ace Alyssa Struzenberg struck out the next two batters. Butsch followed with a run-scoring single to right field.

UAlbany starting pitcher Leah McIntosh ran into some mild trouble with two runners aboard and one out in the fourth. But McIntosh got Kendall Blumenthal to pop out to the shortstop and Jade Clare to strike out swinging. McIntosh, who recorded five strikeouts, was then lifted for reliever Marissa Powell in the top of the fifth after throwing 73 pitches.

The Great Danes broke the tie in the fifth in advancing to their fifth consecutive championship final. Bergin walked to start the inning and was sacrificed to second. After Struzenberg struck out Nicole Kothe looking, Butsch was intentionally walked. Mason then drilled a 3-1 pitch to dead center that cleared the fence by nearly 40 feet for a 4-1 lead.

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