Softball Returns to Capital District; Regular Season Home Finale on Wednesday
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The University at Albany softball team (30-11, 13-1 AE) returns to the Capital District for a doubleheader against Siena College (16-24, 8-4 MAAC) on Tuesday, April 30. They follow on Wednesday, May 1, hosting a doubleheader against Army (28-20, 10-8 Patriot) to end their regular season home schedule. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. in both match-ups.
The Great Danes control a half-game lead over Binghamton University (26-13, 13-2) for the conference’s top seed. The two will square off at Binghamton to determine who will host the 2013 America East Conference Tournament.
• The Saints are led by two players who have started all 40 games -- senior Shannon Jones and junior Jessika Sandrini. Jones leads her team in terms of batting average (.367), total bases (68) and walks (19). While Sandrini leads in doubles (12) and on-base percentage (.486). She also leads the team on the mound, 11-7 with a 4.15 ERA. As a unit, Siena holds a team ERA of 5.42 and batting average of .302.
• Army is led by a pair of hitters batting over .350. Junior Amanda Nguyen (.382) and Alex Reynolds (.356). The Black Knights have been much better at home (11-4) vs. on the road (10-8). They have a strong pitching unit, posting a 2.79 ERA with 34 complete games. Leading the charge is sophomore Morgan Lashley, she’s 22-10 with a 2.24 ERA.
AMERICA EAST DOMINATION
UAlbany currently owns the top spot in the America East standings. As a unit, the Great Danes rank first in team pitching and team fielding. They own a league-best 2.39 ERA, allowing a conference low 68 walks and high 257 strikeouts. Their fielding percentage, .977, also ranks first. UAlbany’s .275 batting average trails only the Bearcats. They’ve lost just one conference game this season to Stony Brook. The Great Danes are guaranteed at least the No. 2 seed for postseason play.
REACHING 30 WINS
With a doubleheader sweep at Boston U. last Wednesday, UAlbany improved to the 30-win mark. Since moving to Division I play, the Great Danes have won at least 30 games in 10 of 12 seasons. With one conference series still to go, UAlbany currently holds their best America East Conference play winning percentage (.928) in program history. Junior Brittany MacFawn has a perfect 10-0 record against conference opponents.
FINDING THE BASEPATH
Junior Charlise Castro has led the Great Danes this year in terms of getting on-base. She has a team-high 29 walks and .454 on-base percentage. After winning the conference triple crown last season, the first basemen has put fear into opposing pitchers at the clean-up position. She currently sits fifth on the all-time program list with 19 homers.
UAlbany has stolen a conference-high 76 bases in 2013. Leading the charge on the basepath is freshman Annie Johnson. In 40 games this season, she’s stolen 35 bases. Sophomore Vicky McFarland, who stole 23 bases last season, is second with 14 steals. Johnson has hit the national radar in terms of stolen bases. Her .88 steal-per-game average ranks second in all of Division I softball.
MACFAWN REACHES MILESTONE
Brittany MacFawn became the third player in program history to surpass the 500 career strikeout milestone. The right-handed hurler is putting together a sensational season. Her conference-leading 228 strikeouts gives her a K:BB ratio of 7:1. As of April 21, MacFawn ranked in the top 20 of all Division I softball in terms of walks per seven innings (1.19). Her 11 complete game shutouts are within the top 10. She tossed her third career no-hitter against Hartford to open up conference play on March 29. Less than a week later she threw a one-hitter against Siena -- one out away from a perfect game. Her current numbers put her on pace to break the single-season Ks record.
DANES’ WIN STREAK SETS NEW PROGRAM RECORD
UAlbany won 14 consecutive games from March 15 - April 7. Over the span, the Great Danes outscored opponents 107-41. They twice won on the eight-run mercy rule and strung together five shut-out victories. The team scored a season-high 14 runs twice, tying the second most for single-game runs in Division I program history (15 in 2004). Their 14-game win-streak set a Division I program record.
UAlbany and Binghamton are currently separated by a half game in the conference standings. The two will play a series at Binghamton to determine who claims the No. 1 seed and hosting rights for the 2013 America East Conference Tournament. The series will start with a doubleheader on Saturday, May 4 with a third game on Sunday, May 5.