Boston U, Stony Brook Victorious On First Day of Softball Championship
BOSTON -- Home runs from Boston University's Melanie Delgado and Stony Brook's Nicole Hagerty proved to be the difference for their respective teams as the Terriers and Seawolves each won their opening games of the 2012 America East Softball Championship Friday at BU Softball Field.
Delgado delivered a three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning and that was all top-seeded Boston U. needed en route to a 3-2 victory over fourth-seeded Maine in the first game of the day. Hagerty's blast in the bottom of the sixth, her second of the day, broke a 4-4 tie and gave second-seeded Stony Brook a 6-4 win over third-seeded Albany in the nightcap.
The Terriers and Seawolves will meet in the winners bracket final on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Black Bears and Great Danes will play an elimination game at 1:30 while the winner of that game will play the loser of the day's first game at 4 p.m. with a trip to the championship game on the line. Because rain postponed Thursday's action, the tournament will go into Sunday with the championship game taking place at 10 a.m. and the if necessary game immediately following.
The first game of the day was scoreless heading into the home half of the second when Delgado came up with two on and turned on an inside pitch to crank the ball over the left field fence. The homer, just her second of the season, gave Boston U. (38-14) a 3-0 lead.
Maine (17-29-1) answered back quickly with a round tripper of its own in the top half of the third. Jessica Burk, an America East All-Rookie selection, drilled a first-pitch fastball over the batting cages beyond left field for a two-run shot to cut her team's deficit to one at 3-2.
Both offenses tried to put rallies together over the next four innings but Boston U.'s Holli Floetker and Maine’'s Ashley Kelley kept opposing hitters at bay. Floetker, who picked up her 18th win of the season, scattered six hits in a complete game effort while striking out seven. Kelley, meanwhile, allowed 10 hits in six innings but got out of several key jams.
Floetker ran into trouble in the seventh as Maine threatened to score. With the tying run 60 feet away at third base, Floetker induced a game-ending lineout from Maine catcher EmJ Fogel and sent her Terriers, winners of 14 of their last 15 games, to the winner’s bracket.
Jayme Mask went 3-for-4 with a stolen base from the Terriers' leadoff spot while Fogel had two of Maine’s six hits to pace the Black Bears at the plate.
In the nightcap, Albany (34-13) got on the board first, drawing four walks in the top of the first and plating two runs before Stony Brook freshman and America East Pitcher of the Year Allison Cukrov struck out the final two batters to avoid further damage.
Stony Brook (36-15-1) got one back in the bottom of the second thanks to a solo blast from shortstop Lauren Maloney, a second-team all-conference selection, which made the score 2-1 Great Danes after two.
The Great Danes, the reigning league champions, sent one run across in the third inning to make it 3-1 heading into fourth. That’s when the Stony Brook offense erupted. Hagerty hit the first of her two home runs to make it 3-2 and the very next batter Jessica Combs followed suit, tying the game at three, with another Seawolf home run. Stony Brook scratched across another on a throwing error to make it 4-3 after four.
Albany didn't have to wait long to tie the score as Lauren Alcorn ended a long at bat with a two-out RBI single to right which tied the game at four. That set the stage for Hagerty, who belted her second long ball of the afternoon in the home half of the frame, a two run shot to left to make it 6-4 and seal win for the Seawolves.
Cukrov picked up her league-leading 25th win of the season going the full seven innings, giving up just three hits and striking out five while walking 11. Albany'’s Brittany MacFawn was saddled with the loss going six innings and allowing five earned runs.
Hagerty finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with the two home runs, a double and three RBIs. Albany's Charlise Castro, the America East Player of the Year, drew four walks and scored twice.
For tomorrow's complete schedule, links to box scores and more, visit Championship Central.