ORONO, Maine -- The University of Maine softball team (13-11, 5-3 America East) plays its first game at home on Kessock Field as it hosts UMBC (22-15, 0-5 AE) in a three game set beginning with a single contest Friday at 3 PM. Maine and UMBC will close out its series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 12 PM. The Black Bears have already improved five wins on their overall record from a season ago and have bested their league wins by one game just eight official America East games into the season.
Fans may watch all Maine softball home games live at AmericaEast.TV. and can follow live stats at this link. Black Bears' fans may listen to Saturday's doubleheader live locally on the radio at 1400am or by clicking here.
A Look at the Maine & UMBC Series...
Maine carries a streak of great success against UMBC into the weekend series as it stands 9-1 in its last 10 against the Retrievers. Maine, who enters the weekend with a two-game winning streak in the series after taking the last two contests at UMBC a year ago by scores of 11-7 and 7-6. Prior to a loss in the opener of the series last season, Maine had won seven straight. Maine has a four-game winning streak at home against the Retrievers with its last loss at home against UMBC coming in 2010. EmJ Fogel and Jessica Burk each carry a multi-hit streak against UMBC into the weekend as each recorded two hits in each of the last two games against UMBC. Both Fogel and Burk are lifetime .400 hitters against the Retrievers.
Scouting the Black Bears...
Maine enters the weekend winners of six of its last 10 after taking one game of a three-game series at Albany last weekend. In the win, senior hurler Hannah Hill went nine innings in picking up a 3-0 shutout win in which she struck out 11 in the win.
The Black Bears' offense is led Jessica Burk who is hitting .414 (29-70). Burk leads the team in RBIs (12) and runs scored (14) while also recorded two home runs and four doubles. The junior right fielder ranks third in the league in batting average and fifth among conference leaders in total hits (29). EmJ Fogel, who is tied for Burk in multi-hit games with seven, is chipping in a .338 mark at the plate (24-71). Fogel, who has scored 12 runs while driving in 11, leads the team in doubles (6) and ranks ninth in the league in average. Freshman Samantha Ralphs ranks 10th in the league with a .333 average (20-60) with 11 runs scored and six RBI. Ralphs, who has stolen six bags, holds the single-game high mark this season for runs scored in a single game as she scored four in a contest at Hartford. Kristen Koslosky has boosted her average to .308 (16-52) as she has reached base safely in seven straight games. The junior second baseman has scored eight runs while drawing eight walks. Dagmar Ralphs is hitting .290 and carries a five-game hit streak into the weekend series.
In the circle for Maine Hannah Hill has compiled a 6-1 record with a team-low 2.38 ERA. Hill has struck out 58 opposing hitters in 56.0 innings with five complete games and three shutouts in her 11 appearances. Hill's ERA ranks third in the league while she is tied four fourth in wins (6) and sits fifth in strike outs (58). Alexis Bogdanovich enters the weeks at 3-5 on the season with a 3.06 ERA in 10 appearances. Bogdanovich has struck out 35 in 50.1 innings.
As a unit, Maine ranks second in the league in hitting (.270), third in ERA (3.42) and third in fielding (.953).
Scouting the Retrievers...
UMBC enters the weekend on a four game losing skid after dropping a single game to Georgetown (8-6) on Wednesday after being swept in a three-game set at Binghamton. The Retrievers are 3-7 in their last 10, picking up a doubleheader sweep at Howard and taking a single game at George Washington. UMBC is still searching for its first league victory as it stands 0-5 in America East play.
Junior Taylor Hall leads the UMBC offense with a .414 (46-111) at the plate. Hall leads the league with 38 RBI while scoring 24 runs and belting a league-leading 10 home runs with 11 doubles. Senior Chelsea Bertoglio is hitting .326 (28-86) with 15 runs scored and 24 RBI. Danielle O'Neill is chipping in a .297 (33-113) average with a team-high 31 runs scored while also leading the team in walks (27). Kaelin Jackson is hitting .291 (25-86) with 14 runs and 14 RBI while Bridget O'Malley is batting .277 (33-119) with a team-high six stolen bases.
Freshman pitcher Jessica Holte is 13-6 on the year in 22 appearances with 16 starts. Holte's 2.01 ERA ranks second in the league while she is adding 65 strikeouts in 128.2 innings. Fellow freshman Nicole Casagrand is 4-3 with a 3.54 ERA in 13 appearances. Casagrand has struck out 20 in 59.1 innings. Sticking with the freshman trend, Kelly Lane has appeared in 14 games and carries a 5-6 record with a 3.92 ERA into the weekend. Lane has fanned 46 hitters in 59.0 innings.
UMBC leads the league in hitting at .280 while ranking second in ERA (2.83) and second in fielding percentage (.955).