Bill Ziskin UAlbany Softball Starts 2017 Season 2-0 UAlbany Sports Information 02-24-2017 Related Links Columbia Box Score Kent State Box Score Sign Up For Free Email Updates The UAlbany Softball team starts off the 2017 season with a 2-0 record after an 8-3 win over Kent State and a 5-4 win over Columbia at the EMU Spring Invitational in Madeira Beach, Florida. KENT STATE (8-3) Against Kent State, UAlbany was in attack mode from the beginning. The Great Danes scored five runs in the first two innings that began with a sacrifice fly by Liz Snow that sent McKenzie Bump home. In the third and fourth inning, Kent State started to battle back and scored two more runs, including a home run to center field that made the score 5-2. However, the Danes answered back in the fifth inning by adding two more runs to the board (7-2). Sarah Petzold led off the inning with a single, and was sent home by Chelsea Henige’s triple down the right field line. Kayla Bailey was sent in to pinch run for Heinge on third base and was plated by Kelly Spear’s sacrifice fly to center field. Cruising to the fifth inning, Snow’s RBI up the middle added another run to the board (8-2). Kent began to rally in the top of the 7th when they added another home run; however, it was not enough to hang with the Great Danes. The Great Danes displayed a great defensive effort and only committed one error. Snow produced three putouts behind the plate and Spear contributed four putouts with one assist. Junior Devin Durando earned the win, scattering 4 hits and two runs across 5 innings while earning one strike out. Head coach Chris Cannata was pleased with the performance. “That was a great first game for us. It's a big adjustment the first time you put your cleats on and play on dirt and we did a nice job on defense for most of the game. Kent State is a very good team and they have 10 games under their belt already against some good competition,” said Cannata.COLUMBIA (5-4) Against Columbia, Snow doubled to start a three hit, hit streak for the Great Danes, which was followed by a Donna Conrad and Petzold single. Snow advanced home on multiple errors by Columbia, giving the Great Danes a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the first inning, Columbia’s first two hitters reached base on an error and a walk. The Great Danes recorded their first out on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore pitcher, Celeste Verdolivo. However, Columbia forced another UAlbany error, tying the score and advancing the lead-off batter home. Columbia took the lead as they laid down a sacrifice bunt which sent the runner on third home (2-1). Sommer Grzybek added to Columbia's lead with a homer in the third. The Great Danes had a huge fifth inning comeback, creating a 5-3 lead with five hits by Wade, Snow, Conrad, Petzold, and Henige. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Columbia added another run with hits from Amber Swinarski and Taylor Troutt, but it was not enough to catch up to the Great Danes. Verdolivo recorded her first pitching win of the season, allowing three hits and three runs with a total of four strikeouts. Henige recorded 6 key outs behind the plate, while Wade and Cleary recorded 3 and 6 key outs in center field and at first base, respectively. “It was a long day at the ballpark and I'm happy with the way we kept our composure. We made a few defensive mistakes early on, but I like the way we responded after that. We got a bunch of clutch hits to come from behind and we made some really nice defensive plays to get us out of a few jams,” said Cannata. The Great Danes will be back at the EMU Invitational in Madeira Beach, Florida, Saturday, February 25th at 1:30 p.m. v. Detroit.