Saturday, May 2, 2009

University of Albany Softball Splits With Stony Brook and Clinches America East Conference Postseason Berth - UAlbany Sports 2009

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Kristine Bill hit a two-run homer and Marissa Powell threw her sixth shutout of the season as UAlbany was able to salvage a split against Stony Brook in a pivotal America East Conference softball doubleheader at Albany Field on Saturday, May 2. The Seawolves won game one, 5-0, and the Great Danes took game two, 2-0. UAlbany also clinched a conference postseason berth for the eighth time in as many years.

After Vicki Kavitsky was called out for leaving first base early in the top of the third in the nightcap, the Great Danes responded with all the runs they would need in the bottom half of the inning. Kat Smith was hit by a pitch, and Bill followed up with a hit that graced over the fence in center to give Powell all the run support she would need.

“It was very early in the game, so I did not know it was going to be the winning hit,” said Bill on her second game-winning home run in the past three conference games. “I was just trying to hit it hard.”

Stony Brook (34-12 AE 14-5) made its biggest threat to score in the sixth. Kavitsky was hit by a pitch and advanced to second when Crista Cerrone singled through the left side to put the tying run on first with nobody out. Powell retired Kelsi Fannelli by forcing her to fly out to right, and she was able to get out of the jam on the next play due to another baserunning mistake by Kavitsky. Marissa Fleury flew out to Bergin in deep right field for the second out, but Kavitsky was once again called for leaving early to end the threat to rally in the frame.

“Jack Coons, our pitching coach, noticed she left early from the dugout while I was worried about the tying run on first,” said head coach Chris Cannata on the crucial third out. “I went and told the girls what happened, and they got the out. Fortunately, the umpire saw it too.”

The Seawolves had one more attempt to rally in the top of the seventh. Kendall Blumenthal was hit by a pitch with two outs, but Jade Clare grounded out to the pitcher which allowed the Great Danes to seal their 36th victory and match the program’s all-time mark for wins in a season.

UAlbany’s Powell, who earned her 16th victory in her last 18 decisions, improved to 18-9 with the five-hit shutout. She struck out three batters and issued only one walk.

“It was a huge game, and I came in really nervous,” said Powell. “However, I knew my team was going to be behind me and score some runs. I thought from the very beginning that we were going to win this game, and it feels great.”

Stony Brook’s Casey Jacobs fell to 10-4 this year in the losing effort. She gave up three hits, two runs which were earned and did not issue a walk.

“We did not want to get into the tournament by backing into it,” said Cannata. “We wanted to win and earn it. I thought we came out tight in the first game. We did not get many hits in the second game, but our approach was much better. That was the biggest game Marissa (Powell) has ever pitched for us. It was crucial for us to win, and she really stepped up. That was one of the best games I have ever seen her pitch.”

In game one, the Seawolves used the long ball to score all five of their runs. Kelly Oberto hit a two-run homer to center in the second inning, Kavitsky hit a solo shot in the third and Oberto blasted another ball over the fence with one runner on base in the fourth to give Stony Brook all the insurance it needed to win.

UAlbany’s Leah McIntosh was tagged with the loss and dropped to 18-4 this season. She struck out six batters and did not issue a walk while giving up seven hits and five runs which were all earned. Stony Brook’s Alyssa Struzenberg, the reigning conference pitcher of the year, improved to 20-5 with the three-hit shutout. She struck out eight and issued six walks.

UAlbany (36-13 AE 12-6) wraps up its three-game series with Stony Brook tomorrow at noon. Prior to the regular season finale, senior Meagan Butsch will be honored for her contributions to the program over the past four years.

No comments:

Web Site Hit Counters
Precision M4300