UAlbany Advances to NCAA Regional Tournament Final Against Baylor
Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information
Courtesy: UAlbany Athletics
Hempstead, N.Y. – Leah McIntosh tossed a complete game, striking out six to lead UAlbany to a 1-0 win over Harvard in the second round of the NCAA Regional Tournament at Hofstra Softball Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The win was the first in championship play for the Great Danes, who are making their third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
McIntosh worked her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the third, inducing a pop-out to first baseman Leanne Tillman by Harvard’s Melissa Schellberg.
UAlbany (35-16) broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth, as left fielder Amber Maisonet drove in pinch-runner Shane Pais with a single up the middle. Pais took over for catcher Kat Smith, who reached on a walk to start the inning. The Great Danes produced back-to-back sacrifice bunts to advance the runner into scoring position.
Harvard’s Shelly Madick allowed just three hits on the afternoon, fanning four UAlbany batters. Second baseman Julia Kidder finished with two hits for the Crimson.
With the win, the Great Danes advanced to the second elimination game of the day, against host Hofstra, who dropped a 7-2 decision to Baylor in the first game of the day. Senior right-hander Casey Halloran got Pride leftfielder Melissa Hodge to fly out to left to get out of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the first inning in the second game of the day.
UAlbany loaded the bases in the top of the third, as Hofstra’s Courtney Oliver walked Maisonet to give the Great Danes a scoring opportunity. Second baseman Michelle Connors gave UAlbany a 1-0 lead with a bloop single over the head over the second baseman to send Pais across home plate.
Hofstra jumped ahead to a 2-1 lead on a two-run homer by shortstop Pam Dreslinski in the top of the fourth inning.
Connors put the Great Danes back ahead by a run in the fifth, hitting a two-run blast of her own over the left field fence. Right fielder Michelle Pechacek, who reached on a single up the middle, also scored, giving UAlbany a 3-2 lead.
Third baseman Kelly Ogden gave the Great Danes an insurance run in the top of the seventh, knocking a two-out single through the middle to drive in Maisonet.
Hofstra got runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh as catcher Carolann Lubach drove a double down the left field line to advance Erika Bernstein to third. Halloran induced a fly out to centerfield by Dreslinski to end the game and send the Great Danes to the regional final.
This is a huge win,” said UAlbany head coach Chris Cannata. “The Harvard game was the first win we had in the NCAA Tournament. It was also the first win for our conference in the tournament. We have been close the last couple years, but we needed to get over the hump. So being in the final is huge for us as a program.”
UAlbany advances to the NCAA Regional Final against Baylor on Sunday at noon. The Great Danes must defeat the Lady Bears twice to take the regional title.
UAlbany Softball Advances to NCAA Regional Tournament Final Against Baylor
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