Softball Matches Best Start In Program History Behind Greenspan No Hitter

Softball Matches Best Start In Program History Behind Greenspan No Hitter

LEESBURG, Fla.—UMass Boston Softball secured a pair of victories using wildly different methods, to tie the program record for best start to a season at 4-0.

THE BASICS

GM1: UMass Boston 13, Trinity College (Conn.) 6

GM2: UMass Boston 9, Lancaster Bible College 1 (6 Innings)

(UMass Boston 4-0)

(Trinity College 0-1)

(Lancaster Bible College 2-4)

HOW IT HAPPENED

Freshman right-hander Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) threw the program's first no-hitter since April 28, 2010 in game two. Greenspan walked just two batters, while striking out nine and allowing just one unearned run. 

The Beacons offense and comeback efforts were the story in game one. After falling behind 5-0 through 3.5 innings, UMass Boston scored 13 runs in their final three at-bats, including 10 in the sixth, to earn a comeback win over a strong New England side.

GAME ONE 

UMass Boston used their biggest inning of the season thus far to turn the tide on Trinity in game one. 

The Beacons sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, with 10 recording hits, to go from down 6-3, to leading 13-6. 

Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) had an RBI single and bases-clearing double in the inning to account for two hits and four RBI in the inning alone. Freshman Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) added an RBI double in the sixth, while Kaitlyn "KMO" Morse (Arlington, Mass.) and Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) each added RBI singles. 

Vento's four RBI led the Beacons and marked a new season-high, while Morse finished 3-for-4 with two runs, two RBI and a walk. Freshman Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.) turned in another huge outing, as the shortstop finished with a career-high four hits and three runs scored. 

Senior Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) added two hits, two runs and two RBI-including a perfectly executed suicide squeeze to make it 8-6 in the sixth.

Sophomore Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) tacked on two hits and a key RBI single, while Pawlina posted two hits, two runs and one RBI.

In the circle, sophomore Annie Thomas (Lunenburg, Mass.) battled through a tough Trinity lineup to move to 2-0. Despite not having her best stuff, the sophomore kept the Beacons in the game by limiting the Bantams to eight hits and five earned runs, while striking out five.

Trinity jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first of their season opener. The Bantams used a tight strike zone to score three runs on just one hit, a bases-loaded walk and two wild pitches.

After giving up an additional run in the third and fourth, the Beacons began to turn the tide in the bottom of the fourth. With two down and two runners in scoring position, Morse singled through the left side to score Mitsiaris to make it 5-1.

Thomas shut down the Bantams in the top of the fifth 1-2-3 and the Beacons made it 5-3 in the bottom of the inning. Mitsiaris' two-out single plated Braga from second and Tulley followed with a line drive down the third-base line to score Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.). 

Trinity loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth, but Thomas limited the damage to just one run. She induced a grounder to short that scored one run, but then forced a grounder to first and a strikeout, to escape further damage.

That would be all the Beacons offense needed. UMass Boston opened the bottom of the sixth with sixth-straight hits to grab the lead and didn't slow down, as the Bantams made two pitching changes. 

With the bases loaded and no outs, Vento sprayed a single to left that scored Pawlina and Morse, after the left-fielder bobbled the ball. Trailing 6-5, UMass Boston tied the game on a rarely called infraction. The Bantams pitcher was charged with an illegal pitch that moved all three base runners up a base and wiped out a potential fly out.

Bilotta made the most of her second chance, as she ripped a double off the wall to score Kayla Harris (Cumberland, Maine) and make it 7-6 UMass Boston. Mitsiaris's suicide squeeze pushed the lead to 8-6. 

After back-to-back outs kept the Beacons' baserunners at second and third, Pawlina and Morse followed with back-to-back RBI singles to push the lead to 10-6. UMass Boston put the exclamation point on the inning-after Braga singled to load the bases. Vento hit a hard liner down the left field line that the left-fielder dove for and couldn't catch, allowing all three base runners to motor around for a 13-6 edge. 

Thomas worked around a two-out double in the top of the seventh, to post her 15th win as a Beacon.

GAME TWO RECAP

Game two was the "Greenspan Show," with the Beacons offense providing her more than enough support. 

The freshman needed just 87 pitches to mow down the Chargers over six innings of no-hit ball. Only four baserunners reached for Lancaster Bible, as she walked two and the Beacons committed three errors. After the first two baserunners reached on a walk and an error, she allowed just two of the next 20 to reach base. 

Her catcher provided all the offense Greenspan would need. Raczkowski belted a go-ahead two-run homer in the third and finished 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and one walk. 

Freshman Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) added a career-high three RBI and her first collegiate RBI. Harris tacked on a two-run, pinch-hit single in her first plate appearance of the 2017 season.

Lancaster Bible College scored their lone run of the game just two batters in. Zoie Senn worked a lead-off walk and came in to score on a pair of Beacons' errors. On the following play, the Chargers attempted to put down a sacrifice bunt, instead the Beacons would commit a pair of errors that allowed Senn to score and Julia D'Arrigo to reach third.

Greenspan would leave D'Arrigo right there. She induced a lineout to second, got the cleanup hitter to strike out swinging and then forced a foul pop to first to keep it 1-0. 

UMass Boston took the lead for good in the third. Vento worked a two-out walk and was permitted to trot around the bases after Raczkowski blasted a homer well over the left-field fence. The Beacons kept the inning going and Mitsiaris scored on the second Chargers' error of the inning. 

In the fourth inning, Mitsiaris sent a hard grounder through the left side to score Braga and make it 4-1.

Braga turned the tables in the fifth, as her single down the left field scored two runs on a bobble by the left fielder.  

UMass Boston's offense capped off their 22-run day in the top of the sixth. Prusmack's flared an RBI single to center to score Raczkowski from second base. Harris followed with a rocket through the middle of the infield that scored Bilotta and Prusmack, and gave the Beacons' the eight-run lead they needed for a mercy-rule win.

All the while Greenspan was mowing down the home team. After seeing the first two runners of the game reach, she retired the next 12 batters she faced. Greenspan struck out five in a row, including retiring the side by way of the strikeout in the second.

After an error put the leadoff runner on base in the fifth, the freshman struck out the final two batters of the inning with a runner on the second.

In the bottom of the sixth, Greenspan walked the leadoff hitter, only to induce a pair of popups and a fly out to post her first collegiate no-hitter.

BY THE NUMBERS 

  • UMass Boston's last no-hitter came on April 28, 2010. Emily Wolf ('11) allowed six walks, while striking out four in a five-inning mercy-rule win over Newbury College.
  • The Beacons matched the 2012 team for the best start in program history (4-0). If they defeat St. Mary's of Indiana on Tuesday, they will start 5-0 for the first time in program history.
  • UMass Boston improved to 2-2 all-time against Trinity and 1-1 against Lancaster Bible College.
  • Freshman Giovanna Bonilla (Queens, N.Y.) registered her first collegiate hit in game one.
  • Eight of UMass Boston's 13 runs came with two outs in game one against the Bantams. On the day, UMass Boston scored 14 of their 22 runs with two outs. 

WHO'S NEXT

UMass Boston will have an off day on Monday, before returning to Clermont for two more games. They will take on St. Mary's of Indiana at 8 a.m. and Hamilton College at 1 p.m.