Posted: Mar 30, 2016
STAUNTON, VA-- The University of Maine at Presque Isle Softball team faced a familiar Spring-trip opponent, Mary Baldwin College on Wednesday. The Fighting Squirrels took advantage of base-running and defensive miscues and were able to secure two wins 2-0 and 9-3.
Game 1 - Mary Baldwin def. UMPI - 2-0
Mary Baldwin took advantage early, scoring in the bottom of the first. Base hits by both senior Sara Seekins (Hampton, VA) and sophomore Montana Welcher (Staunton, VA) resulted in a run.
The Owls would try to battle back, and continued to put the ball in play, but could not land their first baserunner until the top of the third inning when senior Amanda Allen (Limestone, ME) reached first on a base hit. She was then moved over to third base on back-to-back sacrifice bunts by freshman Jordi Legassie (Presque Isle, ME) and sophomore Nicole Marucci (Naples, ME); both nearly making it safe at first. Freshman Hannah Williams (Park Falls, NS) then reached to first base on a walk. Sophomore Carly Bell (Presque Isle, ME) connected on a nice grounder in the infield, but the Fighting Squirrels were able to put the Owls away to end the inning and leave two runners stranded.
The Owls would leave three more baserunners stranded over the next two innings; senior Katie Patenaude (Presque Isle, ME) who reached on an error in the fourth inning, freshman Mikayla Churchill (Washburn, ME) who reached on a fielder's choice in the fourth inning, and again Patenaude in the sixth inning after she reached first base on a base hit.
Solid defense for the Owls held the Fighting Squirrels off until the bottom of the sixth inning when senior Kayla Wheeler (Verona, VA) hit a single and then crossed homeplate on an UMPI error.
Despite being down two runs, UMPI had confidence in its offense which has been explosive thusfar this season; currently ranked 4th in the country for on-base percentage and 14th in the country for scoring, among 400 plus NCAA Division III schools. For their last-ditch effort, the Owls loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning but were unable to bring runners across homeplate; stranding Allen, Marucci, and Williams.
Packard pitched the entire game for the Owls and struck-out three batters while allowing four hits.
Game 2 - Mary Baldwin def. UMPI - 9-3
Baserunning mistakes hurt the Owls in the second match-up, but it was the defensive miscues that would open the doors for the Fighting Squirrels to extend their innings.
The Owls started the game off strong, getting Williams on first base to lead off. Bell would then hit a grounder to the short-stop who proceeded to take the lead runner; Bell made it safely to first because of the fielder's choice. Patenaude struck the ball to reach first base, but a baserunning miscue led to Bell getting tagged out after rounding second base for the Owl's second out of the inning. Packard moved Patenaude over to second base on a walk, but a strike-out for the Owls left two runners stranded.
Seekins and Wheeler started the Squirrel's offense off in the first inning with a double, followed by an out-of-the-park homerun for two runs, propelling the Squirrels into the driver's seat to start the game.
The Owls would not lay down however and answered back with three runs of their own in the top of the second inning. Allen reached first on a walk, Legassie put down a base-hit bunt, and then both runners advanced on an error. Allen would score to give the Owls their first run of the game. Legassie landed on third base to bring up Marucci. Once again, Marucci put down a solid bunt, but a baserunning miscue at third would send Legassie to the Owls' bench with two outs. Marucci then stole second base putting her in scoring position for Williams. Williams walked, Bell hit a screaming double, bringing in two runs. Patenaude would then follow up with a single, but another baserunning miscue for the Owls ended what could have been a huge offensive opportunity as Bell was tagged out trying to advance to home on Patenaude's hit.
Mary Baldwin put together another run in the third before a shoestring grab by Allen would end the inning.
The Owls would not get another runner on base until the top of the sixth when Packard hit a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Dalynn Jacobs (Riverside, RI). Packard would get tagged out on a fielder's choice on a Churchill grounder to short-stop. A strikeout would send the Owls back out on defense and strand a runner.
The Fighting Squirrels took advantage of second-opportunities on defensive miscues by the Owls and combined for a total of six runs in the final three innings of play bringing their total run count to nine on the day.
UMPI would again leave runners on base in their final attempt to battle back into the ballgame. Williams had a base hit for UMPI in their final at-bat.
Packard again took the mound for the blue and gold and struck out four batters in the second contest.
The Owls were originally scheduled to play their next game on Thursday at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA; however, due to expected poor weather conditions, the game has been cancelled. UMPI will look to pick-up two more games either Thursday or Friday as they travel North to compete with Southern Maine Community College on Saturday in South Portland at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.