Boston U. and Albany will meet in the Championship final for the second time in three years.
Albany, Boston U. Win Friday to Set up Softball Title Game Tilt Saturday
BOSTON -- For the second time in three years, Albany and Boston University will decide the America East softball title after both teams advanced to the tournament's final day with wins Friday. The Great Danes came out of the winner’s bracket by beating the Terriers, 4-1, in the first game of the day, while Boston U. reached the title game for the third straight year by ousting Binghamton, 7-0, in the final game of the day. In the second game, Binghamton temporarily staved off elimination by downing UMBC, 3-2.
The first game of the day two matched the winners from the championship’s first day, Albany (27-21) and Boston U (34-17). Albany took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Gina Mason slammed a double to right field to plate Andrianna Walraven and Diane MacDowell.
The Terriers got one of those runs back in the top of the second when pinch runner Kayla Kruper scored on a single to left by Melanie Delgado. Boston U. could only muster the one run, leaving the bases loaded in the frame.
Albany answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the second when Jessica Bergin scored from second on a Terrier miscue. The Great Danes extended their lead to 4-1 in the third on an RBI single by Lauren Alcorn.
Brittany Schweiger started in the circle for the Great Danes, allowing just one unearned run on four hits in six innings. Brittany MacFawn retired the Terriers in order in the seventh to pick up the save.
The day’s second contest served as an elimination game between Binghamton and UMBC, with the winner going on to face Boston U. in the nightcap and the loser going home.
UMBC opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with small ball. With Jessica Warner at third and Julia Culotta at first, Culotta broke for second, drawing a throw from Binghamton catcher Deannie Plemon. Warner scored easily from third to give the Retrievers a 1-0 lead.
It was not until the top of the fourth that Binghamton scored its first run when Meghan Tucker, a second-team all-conference outfielder, drilled a 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall and off the scoreboard to tie the game, 1-1.
The Retrievers answered in the bottom of the inning, retaking the lead, 2-1, on a single to center by Lauren O’Malley to plate Lynn Pronobis.
Binghamton finally took the lead in the top of the sixth, plating two runs without a hit. Jessica Bump and Meghan Tucker both walked before Deannie Plemon was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bump then scored on a wild pitch to tie the score, 2-2, while Tucker came home on a sacrifice fly to left by Stephanie DeLuca, giving Binghamton the 3-2 lead.
Pitcher Kate Price entered the circle in the sixth to record the final six outs and shut the door on the Retrievers.
The Boston U. loss in the first game of the day and Binghamton’s win in the second game led to an elimination game featuring the two with the winner earning a spot in the America East Championship final.
The Terriers got started right away as America East Co-Player of the Year April Setterlund punched a single up the middle to score Jayme Mask from second in the top of the first.
The Terriers threatened again in the top of the fourth, drawing a walk and getting a hit to chase Binghamton starter Rhoda Marsteller from the circle. Price entered again in relief and with the bases loaded and one out, did not allow a Terrier to cross the plate to keep it a one-run deficit, 1-0.
Boston U. broke the game open in the fifth, loading the bases again with a walk and a pair of bunt singles by Mask and Erica Casacci. The next batter, Setterlund, singled to bring in a pair of runs. Chelsea Kehr capped the rally with an RBI single through the right side to score Casacci and make it a 4-0.
Setterlund struck again in the sixth inning, blasting a three-run homerun to give the Terriers a 7-0 cushion. Setterlund went 3-for-3 against the Bearcats while driving in six of the Terriers’ seven runs.
First pitch between Albany and Boston U. will be at 12 p.m. Should the Terriers win, the two teams would play again at 2:30 do to the double-elimination format. Visit Championship Central for live coverage links, including live stats and WTBU radio coverage, and follow America East on Twitter for in-game updates.