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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beacons Go Toe-to-Toe with Keene State

Beacons Go Toe-to-Toe with Keene State

Coming off of a bad week of six straight losses, the UMass Boston softball team entered into a double-header with the nationally ranked Keene State Owls. With the sun out and spring weather making a rare appearance at the softball field behind the Clark Athletic Center, the Beacons hoped to pull out a win and bat away any gray clouds that come with a loss.

Unfortunately the team’s first game of the double-header ended in a 4-0 loss.

The Beacons faced Keene’s powerhouse pitcher Meghan McLoughlin and were shut out. An incredibly hard thrower, she allowed the Beacons only three hits and fanned 12 batters.

UMB coach Gretchen Randall noted, “We did not hit very well against their number one pitcher. Then again, nobody hits well against her. Currently her ERA is 0.19, which is unbelievable.”

The team entered the second game of the double-header with little visible enthusiasm, as Keene State’s bench was clearly ready for a second game.

Nevertheless, UMass did come into the game with a fairly strong first inning as Carla Collins (#11) reached first base on a bunt, reached second after a pop out, and then was moved to third on a single up the middle by Andrea Ciarletta (#20). Unfortunately, home plate was not touched as Jenn Murray bunted to move the runners along but Collins was tagged out between third and home after Keene’s pitcher, who fielded the bunt, faked a throw to first, getting Collins to commit to home plate. Siobhan Lynch (#27) then grounded out to end the inning, stranding two runners on base.

Highlighting the Beacon’s defense early in the game was catcher Catie O’Reilly (#15), who made an amazing throw in the bottom of the first inning to throw out a Keene State base runner attempting to steal second base. The next two batters were forced into groundouts to retire the side.

The third inning looked a bit like the first for UMB, with a few exceptions. Collins reached first base on an error and then stole second base. Ciarletta then smashed a double into center field, scoring Collins and putting UMB up 1-0. Lynch then singled into left and drove in Ciarletta to give the Beacons a 2-0 lead.

The Beacons’ lead was cut in half in the third inning when Keene State scored on a fielder’s choice. Collins however was able to keep the Owls scoreless in the fourth inning to retain the team’s one run lead.

The fifth inning brought some excitement for the Beacons and their fans as Ciarletta lead off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Murray moved her over to third on a solid single to right. With runners on first and third Murray stole second base with no challenge by the Keene State catcher who kept her eye on the runner at third. Kristen Smoyer struck out but reached first base as the pitch could not be handled by the catcher.

With the bases loaded Catherine Gentile earned her most painful RBI of the season. She was struck in the calf on a hard pitch inside bringing Ciarletta home to put UMB up by two runs once again.

Keene State was able to get the run back in the bottom of the fifth as a result of two wild pitches and error. The sixth inning remained scoreless for both teams as new pitchers entered the game, Stephanie Poulos for UMB and McLoughin for Keene State.

The Beacons came up empty in their last at-bat in the seventh against Keene’s powerhouse and went into the bottom of the seventh with a one run lead.

Tense moments dominated the bottom of the seventh as Keene State lead off with an infield hit and had the runner advance on another wild pitch by UMass. Keene gained players on first and third after a botched play in the infield, attempting to tag out the runner going to third and missing the force out at first base. The game was then tied with a double by Keene State, advancing another runner to third. Extra innings was the Beacons’ goal, but a long fly to center field drove in the winning run for Keene State ending any hopes for a win.

Though the team lost, coach Randall was pretty satisfied with the way the team played, especially against a nationally ranked team. “Overall, we played very well, maybe the best defense I’ve seen all season. And our pitching was on, Steph and Carla both did an excellent job for us, and against a nationally ranked team.”