DARTMOUTH, Mass.—For the fourth-consecutive season, #5 UMass Boston softball eliminated the #1 seed, but this time around the Beacons saw their season come to a close in the Little East Conference Championship Series.
#5 UMass Boston 9, #1 UMass Dartmouth 0 (5 Innings)
#3 Eastern Connecticut State 8, #5 UMass Boston 0 (5 Innings)
(UMass Boston 23-20)
(UMass Dartmouth 23-18)
(Eastern Connecticut State 29-11)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Needing three wins on the day to earn their third-straight LEC Tournament Title, the Beacons got off to a good start, as they cruised past the host and top-seeded UMass Dartmouth in a mercy-rule victory.
After a two-hour layoff, UMass Boston couldn't keep the momentum going, as they ran into a buzzsaw in Morgan Bolduk and the third-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors.
The loss in game number 10 of the LEC Tournament, marked the final contest for the Beacons three seniors: Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.), Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) and Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.).
GAME ONE RECAP
After managing just four hits in their first two tournament games, #5 UMass Boston exploded for six hits, including their first three extra-base hits of the tournament.
Sophomore Cassidy Gaeta (North Reading, Mass.) came through with the big hit of the day, as she clubbed a bases-clearing, three-run double in the third inning.
Tori Dicenso (Lynn, Mass.) added a walk-off, mercy-rule clinching home run and Pawlina opened the scoring with an RBI double. Vento was the lone player for either side with multiple hits, as the senior catcher finished 2-2 with a run scored.
In the circle, junior Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) limited the hosts to two hits and one earned run over five innings. She also struck out two in the victory.
UMass Dartmouth went through three pitchers in their season-ending loss. Sophomore ace Jill Richards lasted just 1.1 innings, as she was charged with four runs (one earned). Anna Kerwood came on in relief and gave up four more runs (one earned) and Annika Evensen threw the final two frames.
UMass Boston jumped all over the hosts from the start. After Vento threw out a baserunner trying to steal second to end the first, the Beacons took the lead three batters into the bottom of the inning. Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) reached on an error with one out and came all the way home from first on an RBI double from Pawlina.
The Beacons scored three more runs in the second, thanks to three Corsairs miscues. With Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) on third and Giovanna Bonilla (Queens, N.Y.) at second, both runners came in to score after the Corsairs first baseman committed an error. Kelly Danahy (Kingston, Mass.) came in to score on the next play, as the Corsairs left fielder was charged with the third error of the inning.
UMass Dartmouth recorded their only run of the game in the third. Leah Major drove in Averi Soares with a one-out RBI double, but Greenspan retired the next two batters to keep the score 4-1.
The Beacons blew the game open in the bottom of the third. Vento singled to start the frame and beat the throw to second on a fielder's choice. Vento came in to score on the next play, after the Corsairs catcher misplayed Prusmack's bunt. Dicenso walked to load the bases and Gaeta followed with an RBI double to left field that easily scored Tulley, Prusmack and Gaeta.
UMass Boston earned the mercy-rule victory in the bottom of the fifth. Dicenso took the sixth pitch she saw over the fence in straight-away center, to clinch the walk-off win.
GAME TWO RECAP
Bolduk, the LEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, one-hit the Beacons for the second time in two days, and she also added a three-run homer in game one of the LEC Championship Series.
The Eastern ace allowed just one hit and struck out four over five innings, to improve to 15-1 on the season. She allowed just five hits over 24 innings and did not allow a run during the LEC Tournament.
Tulley recorded the Beacons' lone hit of the game, as she lined a single into center field with one out in the second inning.
Greenspan took the loss after giving up four hits and three earned runs across three frames. Hayley Catania (Amesbury, Mass.) was charged with four earned runs over the final 1.1 innings.
After a scoreless first, Tulley lined a single to center with one out in the second to give the Beacons their first baserunner. She moved to second on a Prusmack sac bunt, but Bolduk retired the Beacons with a strikeout.
Eastern broke through with a two-out rally in the second. Sabrina LeMere worked a two-out walk, and Megan Hodgdon followed with a single. Laura Zenk drove in both baserunners, when she tripled to right field to make it 2-0.
The Warriors blew the game open in the third. Julia SanGiovanni opened the inning with a solo home run and Bolduk added a three-run, two-out homer to push the lead to 6-0.
Kamdynn Moroney finished off the game, when the pinch hitter split the Beacons outfielders for a two-run, RBI double in the bottom of the fifth inning.
BY THE NUMBERS
- This year's Senior Class finishes their career first in program history with 92 career victories (92-77). They are the only class in program history to play in the LEC Championship Series all four seasons and posted a program-record best 14-5 record in the LEC Tournament.
- Vento finishes her career second in program history in career hits with 196. She fell just one hit shy of assistant coach Sue Killilea's ('13) program mark of 197 career hits.
- UMass Boston is now 15-13 all-time in the LEC Tournament. The Beacons have gone 6-1 against number one seeds the past four years.
- Greenspan is now 9-2, with one save in 14 career LEC Tournament appearances.
- With her first hit on Saturday, Vento became the first player to record 50 hits in multiple seasons in program history. She has recorded two of the 50-hit seasons in program history (2017 and 2019).
UMass Boston anticipates returning 19 players from this year's roster for the 2020 seasons.