UAlbany Softball Back-to-Back America East Champs
Score: Game 1: UAlbany 4, UMass Lowell 3 / Game Two: UAlbany 4, UMass Lowell 1
Location: Binghamton, New York - Bearcats Sports Complex
Records: UAlbany (32-14); UMass Lowell (21-28)
Short Story: The UAlbany Great Danes won the 2018 America East Championship against UMass Lowell on Sunday, May 13th. The Great Danes are back-to-back America East Champions.
How It Happened:
Junior pitcher Celeste Verdolivo led the UAlbany Great Danes to a 4-3 victory over UMass Lowell in the first game. Verdolivo struck out five UMass Lowell batters and threw 125 pitches. Celeste finished the 2018 season with a 16-2 record.
UMass Lowell scored one run in the second inning and two in the fourth, giving them a three-run advantage.
In the bottom of the fourth, Chelsea Henige doubled to center field and Courtney Courtade entered the game to pinch run. On a wild pitch, Courtade advanced home to score the first run of the game for the Great Danes. The River Hawks led 3-1 in the top of the fifth.
Kelly Spear hit a single to left field and Shaye Swiatek entered the game to pinch run in the bottom of the sixth. Chelsea Henige came in and hit a single down center field to advance Swiatek to third base. Sarah Petzold stepped up to bat and smashed a three-run homer over the fences of Bearcats Sports Complex to put her team in the lead by one run. Petzold has hit seven home runs so far this season. The Great Danes led 4-3 in the top of the seventh inning.
UMass Lowell was unable to score in the top of the seventh, ending the game 4-3 in a UAlbany victory.
Freshman pitcher Maranda Jimenez led the Great Danes to win the championship title. Jimenez struck out five batters and ended the 2018 season with a 10-4 record.
In the third inning, McKenzie Bump reached on an error by the short stop. Katie Falotico hit a sacrificial bunt, but reached on an error by the catcher, advancing Bump to third. Kelly Spear came up to bat and sacrifice flied out to right field, bringing Bump around to score and advancing Falotico to third base. Chelsea Henige then sacrifice flied out to center field as Falotico ran home to score the second run for the Great Danes.
UMass Lowell scored one run in the top of the fifth inning. Jimenez struck out the last UMass Lowell batter in the fifth inning with bases loaded.
The fifth inning began with McKenzie Bump’s walk, followed by a single to center field by Shaye Swiatek. Sarah Petzold knocked a two-run double off the center field fence to bring Bump and Swiatek around to score, giving the Great Danes a three-run advantage.
UMass Lowell put a runner on third base in the sixth inning, but Jimenez struck out the last batter, ending UMass Lowell’s turn at bat.
The Great Danes won the game 4-1.
Sarah Petzold was named the America East softball Elite 18 honoree for having the highest GPA among qualifying student-athletes participating in the championship game. The junior outfielder, who was a first-team All-Conference selection, has a 3.95 GPA majoring in psychology.
Verdolivo, Petzold and Jimenez are joined on the All-Championship team by teammate Chelsea Henige.
Comments From Coach Chris Cannata
"I’m so proud of this group. They have been on a mission since day one and I’m thrilled that they saw it through today. They have shown incredible fight and resilience all year and that’s what it took to get past a very good UMass Lowell team today. Every single person contributed to make this happen and I’m so happy for all of them."
Up Next: The NCAA Softball Selection show party will take place tonight at 10:00 PM at Damien’s in the University at Albany Campus Center.