Softball Defeats UMBC in a 10-Inning AE Tournament Thriller
VESTAL, N.Y.— In a 10-inning thriller, the University at Albany Great Danes defeated the UMBC Retrievers 5-4 in Game 1 of the America East Tournament. Both teams were very active at the plate. UAlbany outhit UMBC 13-10. Kelly Barkevich and Shaye Swiatek made key offensive plays to lead the Danes to victory.
KELLY BARKEVICH TO THE RESCUE
Down by one run in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Great Danes were looking for hits to stay alive. Making her America East Tournament debut, Kelly Barkevich was sent in to pinch hit. Stepping up to the plate for the first time of the day, Barkevich homered into right field to save the Danes and force extra innings.
THE SHAYE SWIATEK WALK-OFF
In the bottom of the 10th inning with two outs and one runner on base, next on deck was Shaye Swiatek who was 0-3 on the day. The sophomore infielder rose to the occasion and played hero. Swiatek sent a game winning walk-off RBI double through left center to retire UMBC 5-4.
Swiatek on her walk-off win, “The only thing I was thinking about when I went up to bat was to stay relaxed and believe in myself because I knew that I could finish the game. It was an all-around complete team win. The pitching and defense was solid and we hit the ball well at the plate.”
FULL GAME RECAP
The freshman pitcher from Fort Worth, Texas, Bailey Turner started on the mound for the Great Danes. UMBC came out in the first inning with aggression in their swing. The Retrievers' number two and three batters were able to create runs with a single and a deep home run over the left field fence. To end the inning, Turner struck out the last batter looking.
The Great Danes battled back offensively. Lead-off batter, Aliyah Wade was sent to first base on a walk by UMBC's pitcher. Kelly Spear then moved her teammate over with a base hit blooper over second base. Then Player of the Year, Liz Snow knocked in a run with an RBI double to left center. The runs did not stop there. With no outs, Chelsea Henige smacked a deep sacrifice fly into left field to score another runner. At the end of the inning UAlbany and UMBC were tied at 2-2.
In the top of the second, UMBC countered with another run from a combination of three singles. The Great Danes grabbed their bats to prepare for the bottom of the inning. Wade took UMBC's momentum and tripled it with a bunt down the left base line. Using her speed to beat the throw, Wade forced a throwing error and landed a spot all the way on third base. Kelly Spear then smacked one just fair to the right of the third base line sending Wade home. Once again at the end of the inning the score was tied up.
With three scoreless, tied innings, UMBC broke the status quo taking the lead in the top of the 6th with an RBI single from Chelsie Delperuto. The Great Danes made strong connection after connection, but struggled to find holes in the field until the 7th inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, needing one run to keep the Great Danes alive, it all fell into the hands of the pinch-hitter Kelly Barkevich. The freshman from Clifton Park, NY blasted her fourth career home run over the fence sending the Great Danes to extra innings.
As the game was up for grabs, neither team was able to produce runs in the first two extra innings. However, in the 10th inning it all started with McKenzie Bump. Bump blasted a double into right center claiming second base. Then came Swiatek with her walk-off RBI double to send UAlbany over UMBC.
Bailey Turner pitched the first four innings for the Great Danes allowing three earned runs. The freshman struck out three batters and allowed six hits. Coming in for relief, Devin Durando finished out the final six innings striking out a total of six batters, allowing only four hits. Impressively, both pitchers walked no batters the entire game.
“I thought we did a great job keeping our composure today. We were down a couple times during the game and kept battling back. Devin did a great job in relief and kept us in the game. Kelly Barkevich had a huge clutch hit for us to tie the game in the bottom of the 7th. That was a pressure spot for a freshman to be in and I'm really proud of how she responded. As a team we need to play with that same focus and enthusiasm tomorrow,” said head coach Chris Cannata.
Up next, the Great Danes will face the No. 1 Binghamton Bearcats at 11 AM tomorrow for Game 4 of the America East Tournament.