Strong Pitching Leads Albany to Fourth Softball Crown
BOSTON -- University at Albany scored three times in the third inning and Brittany MacFawn made the runs hold up as the Great Danes won the 2011 America East Softball Championship with a 3-1 victory over Boston University in the tournament final Saturday. The Great Danes won the conference title for the fourth time and first time since 2007.
With the win, Albany (28-21), which has won 18 of its last 21 games, earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship. The Great Danes will learn their draw on Sunday at 10 p.m. on ESPNU.
The Great Danes capitalized on Boston U. errors and to plate three in the third. With one out in the frame, Melissa Herndon reached base on a throwing error. The next batter, Andrianna Walraven, an All-Championship team selection, doubled to left to move Herndon to third. Herndon then scored on another Terrier miscue in the field, giving the Great Danes the early lead, 1-0. A Katie Wambold liner that bounced off the arm of Boston U. pitcher Holli Floetker and into right field allowed two more runs to score and give Albany a 3-0 lead.
Boston U. (33-18), which had won the previous two America East titles, got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth. Jayme Mask led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Erica Casacci. Mask came around to score on a Megan Volpano double to right-center to make it a 3-1 game.
That single run was all Boston U. could muster as MacFawn, the 2011 America East Championship Most Outstanding Player, surrendered just two hits and the one run in a complete game. MacFawn fanned eight Terriers and did not give up a walk in seven innings in the final game. The freshman pitched in each of the Great Danes' three games in the championship, boasting a 2-0 record while also adding a save. MacFawn recorded 15 strike outs while allowing nine hits and three walks in 17 innings pitched in the tournament.
Walraven, who went 2-for-3 at the dish in the final, was joined on the All-Championship team by MacFawn, Schwieger and Wambold. Also earning All-Championship honors were Boston University's Holli Floetker, April Setterlund and Amy Ekart, Binghamton's Rhoda Marsteller and Meghan Tucker, and UMBC's Julia Culotta and Jessica Warner.