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Softball Sweeps Doubleheader from Binghamton
ORONO, Maine -- Hilary Kane (Concord, N.H.) and Jessica Burk (Warrenton, Va.) blasted grand slams in back-to-back games to help lead the University of Maine softball team to a doubleheader sweep of Binghamton on Saturday afternoon at Kessock Field. Maine took game one by a score of 8-2 before defeating the Bearcats 4-2 in game two. The two wins give the Black Bears their first America East victories of the season as they move to 9-24 overall and 2-5 in league play while Binghamton falls to 15-21, 6-5 in conference action.
In game one, Binghamton started the scoring by jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Meghan Tucker started the rally by ripping a double down the left field line before Chelsea Horne drove her in with a double of her own to left.
Maine answered with four runs in the home half of the first. EmJ Fogel (Vienna, Va.) led off the inning with a walk and moved up to second after Jennifer Eberhardt (Glendale, Ariz.) singled through the left side. With two away in the inning, Dagmar Ralphs (O'Fallon, Ill.) kept the rally alive by loading the bases with a walk. Kane then stepped in and blasted a grand slam over the centerfield fence to give the Black Bears an early 4-1 lead.
Jessica Phillips brought the Bearcats within a pair of runs in the top of the fifth as she hit her ninth home run of the year to left field.
The Black Bears quickly answered again, this time with a pair of runs in the home half of the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. With two gone in the inning, Ralphs reached on an error to begin things. Kane followed with a single up the middle before Nikki Byron (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) singled into right field. Ralphs would score on the play when the Binghamton right fielder's throw into the plate got by the catcher. Kane would then trot in from third on a passed ball shortly after.
Maine added two more in the bottom of the sixth, extending its lead to 8-2. Fogel and Burk led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Jean Stevens (Albany, Ore.) loaded the bases for Maine with a walk before Ralphs singled up the middle, plating Fogel and Burk.
Ashley Kelley (Hermon, Maine) and the Maine defense continued to shut down the Bearcats the rest of the way to earn the victory in game one. Kelley went the distance to grab her fourth win of the season after giving up two runs on six hits while fanning two. Kristen Emerling took the loss for Binghamton as she went 5.2 innings while giving up six runs, four earned, on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Maine started out game two much like they did game one as Burk ripped her first career home run, a grand slam, in the bottom of the third to give Maine an early 4-0 lead. Margaret Hilton (Lyndonville, Vt.) got the rally started for Maine as she singled into shallow center. Lindsey Jenkins (Greenwich, Conn.) moved Hilton up to second with a bunt single before Kristen Koslosky's (Castro Valley, Calif.) sac-bunt gave the Black Bears second and third with one out. Fogel loaded the bases for Maine on a fielder's choice before Burk turned on a high fastball, crushing the pitch over the leftfield fence for her first career home run.
Binghamton continued to fight as it plated a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. Colleen Dougherty started the inning with a single through the hole at short. Phillips then gave the Bearcats two on and nobody out as she worked a walk. Horne's ground out to short allowed Dougherty and Phillips to advance to third. Mikala King then roped a single into right field, plating Dougherty and Phillips and bringing themselves within a pair of runs of the Maine lead.
However, that would be as close as the Bearcats would get as Maine starter Beth Spoehr (Appleton, Wis.) and the Maine defense closed out the game to complete the doubleheader sweep.
Spoehr nailed down her third win of the season as she went the distance while giving up two runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Demi Laney picks up the loss for the Bearcats as she went 3.2 innings while giving up four runs on six hits and a walk while fanning five.
The Black Bears will look for the weekend sweep tomorrow when the two team's meet in the series finale tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.