ORONO, Maine — It was University of Maine softball coach Mike Coutts’ 57th birthday on Friday, and he didn’t have to wait long to blow out the candles.
The Black Bears scored seven unearned runs in the first two innings and unleashed a 12-hit attack to beat error-prone University of Maryland-Baltimore County 11-0 in an America East game that was called after four and a half innings because of the eight-run mercy rule.
UMaine improved to 24-18 overall, 11-4 in league play, and UMBC fell to 23-28 and 4-10, respectively.
The Black Bears will play a Seniors Day doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday. Catcher Janelle Bouchard from Kennebunk is UMaine’s lone senior.
“We were happy to get a win for him. He deserves it,” said Bouchard, who had a two-run double in the five-run second inning rally.
“The girls have been doing a good job offensively,” Coutts said. “They’ve got a lot of confidence. They’re in a good place right now. UMBC made some mistakes, and we capitalized on them. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”
“We haven’t had a stinker like this since we played Stony Brook the first weekend of the year,” said UMBC coach Joe French.
He added that UMaine did a good job capitalizing on his team’s four errors.
Junior left-hander Erin Bogdanovich hurled five innings of two-hit shutout ball to run her America East record to 7-0 and her overall mark to 8-4.
She struck out four and walked two while throwing just 60 pitches, 40 for strikes.
“I threw well, but I could have done better,” said Bogdanovich, who mixed up her rise ball, fastball, changeup and drop.
“The team did really well hitting and fielding the ball today,” she added.
The Black Bears played errorless ball behind her and made several gems including a nice running catch by right fielder Erika Leonard and a play in the hole by shortstop Felicia Lennon, which also featured a nifty scoop by first baseman Kristen Niland.
UMaine scored two first-inning runs before adding five in the second to all but cement the win.
Leonard grounded a sharp single to center to open the first and, one out later, she moved to second on a dropped fly ball.
Rachel Harvey lined a sharp run-scoring single to center, and when the ball was misplayed, the second run scored.
Alyssa Derrick reached on an infield error to lead off the second, and Niland lined a single to right. One out later, Leonard lined a single to center to load the bases.
A dropped infield popup turned out to be a fielder’s choice but a run scored. Bouchard then pulled a two-run double off left-hander Jessica Holte down the left-field line to make it 5-0.
“I was just looking to get something early in the count, and she came in with a fastball,” said Bouchard.
Harvey walked, and Lennon lofted a two-run triple into right center field.
“I had two strikes, and I was looking to take the ball the other way. She threw me an offspeed pitch on the outside corner, and I just sat back, waited on it, and it luckily found a gap,” said Lennon.
Leonard paced UMaine’s attack with three singles and two RBIs.
Harvey rifled a solo homer to left center and had a single, giving the reigning America East Player of the Week 10 hits in her last 15 at-bats.