W. HARTFORD, Conn. -- The University of Maine softball team (9-9, 1-1 America East) split its America East opening doubleheader with Hartford (5-12, 1-1 America East) on Saturday afternoon. The two teams exchanged shutouts as Hartford took the opener 2-0 before Maine blanked the Hawks 10-0 in five-innings.
Hannah Hill (Fryeburg, Maine) tossed Maine's shutout as she went 5.0 innings while giving up just two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. Jessica Burk (Warrenton, Va.) paced the offense with a 4-for-4 game with two doubles while scoring a pair of runs and driving in two. EmJ Fogel (Vienna, Va.) went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a triple while Rachel Harvey (Southington, Conn.) belted her first collegiate home run. Maine totaled a season-high 14 hits in the victory.
In game one, Hartford jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a single run in the bottom of the third. Mackenzie Obert was able to reach on an error which brought in Amber Andrews with the first run of the afternoon.
Maine looked poised to knot the score when it began to rally in the top of the fifth. Burk started the inning with a single before advancing to second on a single up the middle from Jean Stevens (Albany, Ore.) Maine's runners advanced to second and third on a groundout but were unable to score in the inning.
Hartford added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth when Chelsey Mooney's RBI double plated Obert to push the Hawks' lead to 2-0; an advantage it would not relinquish.
Alexis Bogdanovich (South Portland, Maine) took the hard loss for Maine after a solid outing in which she tossed six innings of three-hit ball while giving up two runs, one earned, with a pair of strikeouts.
Hartford starter Zuzana Kudernatschov went the distance in earning the win as she gave up three-hits in the shutout while fanning 10.
Maine's bats came alive in game two as it belted a season-high 14 hits en route to a 10-0 victory in five innings.
The Black Bears wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as they plated a pair of runs in the top of the first. Burk began her stellar day with an RBI double which scored Felica Lennon (Brookfield, Conn.). Fogel completed the two-run top of the first as her triple brought around Burk.
Maine stretched its lead to 5-0 with three runs in the top of the fourth. Lennon drove in the first run of the inning after reaching on a fielder's choice which scored Kristen Koslosky (Castro Valley, Calif.). Lennon advanced to second on the play after a Hartford throwing error. Maine kept the offense rolling as Dagmar Ralphs (O'Fallon, Ill.) laced a single to left which allowed Lennon to score. Burk drove in her second run of the game later in the inning when her single to right center plated Samantha Ralphs (Lebanon, Ill.).
Maine's kept tacking the runs on as it put the game out of reach with a five-run top of the fifth. Harvey started things with a solo home run before Shelby Obert's (Skowhegan, Maine) groundout brought in Maddie Moore (McLean, Va.) from third. Samantha Ralphs followed with a sharp RBI single to right, scoring Makaila Kowalsky (Colchester, Conn.) before Fogel drove in two more with a double to the gap in right center.
Hill slammed the door as she retired the Hawks in order in the bottom of the fifth to pick up her fourth win of the year. Maine's senior starter earned the shutout victory on five-innings of work while giving up just two hits with seven strikeouts.
Maine and Hartford close out the weekend series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 12 PM.