The University of Massachusetts Lowell solidified its hold on first place in America East on Tuesday as Sydney Barker and Maria Moccio hit back-to-back homers to start the seventh inning and rally the River Hawks to a 5-4 softball win over the University of Maine at River View Field in Lowell, Massachusetts.
In a battle of league leaders, the River Hawks overcame a 3-1 deficit and then fell behind 4-3 in the top of the seventh when Laurine German doubled and Alyssa Derrick delivered her with a two-out single.
But Barker hit reliever Kyleigh O’Donnell’s first pitch over the left field fence to tie it and Moccio followed by drilling an 0-2 pitch to center field to win it.
Barker entered the game hitting .224 with just one homer and eight runs batted in while Moccio was a .167 hitter who hadn’t homered in her 12 games.
UMass Lowell improved to 16-22 overall, 10-2 in America East, while UMaine fell to 18-19 and 7-3, respectively.
UMass Lowell is eligible for the America East tournament for the first time this season after completing the NCAA-mandated four-year probationary period required when an institution makes the jump from Division II to Division I.
Barker staked the River Hawks to a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a run-scoring infield single but the Black Bears used single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to build their 3-1 lead.
Maine’s Maddie Decker homered in the second and hit a run-scoring double in the third before Amanda Nee doubled and scored on German’s bunt in the fourth.
The River Hawks tied it with runs in the fourth and fifth.
Samantha McQueen singled off UMaine starter Annie Kennedy in the fourth and scored on Courtney Cashman’s two-out double and, in the fifth, O’Donnell came on to pitch and surrendered a run on Vanessa Cooper’s RBI double.
Cashman had two singles to go with her double and Barker and Madison Alcorn each had two hits. Barker drove in two runs. Kaysee Talcik picked up the win with four innings of four-hit, one-run relief.
Decker, Derrick and Meghan Royle had two hits apiece for UMaine. Kennedy allowed seven hits and two runs in four innings. O’Donnell gave up four hits and three runs in two-plus innings and was tagged with the loss.
Husson sweeps UM-Farmington
At Farmington, Husson sophomore right-hander Jen Jones, who was chosen the Fastpitch News Division III Player of the Week last week, picked up both wins, 1-0 and 7-4, by throwing 13 innings of four-hit shutout ball. Both games went eight innings.
Jones, who notched both victories in a 1-0, 6-5 sweep of Castleton University (Vt.) on Saturday, tossed a two-hit complete game in the opener with 11 strikeouts and three walks and then threw five innings of two-hit relief in the nightcap with four strikeouts and one walk.
Husson improved to 17-12 overall, 6-2 in the North Atlantic Conference, while UMaine-Farmington fell to 9-19, 4-8.
In the nightcap, Olivia Smith’s run-scoring single in a four-run eighth-inning rally broke a 3-3 tie and Kylie Kennedy capped the inning with a two-out, three-run double to give the Eagles a comfortable cushion.
Morgan Coleman’s sacrifice fly in the sixth had tied it for Husson.
Tamara Aunchman had a pair of singles for Husson while Kayleigh Oberg, Margaret Fogarty, Callie Hammer and Brianna Dugan had two apiece for UMF. Hammer drove in three runs.
In the opener, Madelyn Fowler’s one-out base hit in the top of the eighth delivered Bri Brochu with the winning run.
As mandated by NAC rules, Brochu was placed at second to start the eighth and was then sacrificed to third by Chloe Gorey before Fowler singled.
UMF pinch-runner Amber Grady began at second in the bottom of the eighth and moved to third on a passed ball but Grady was stranded there when Jones induced an out on a bunt and a pop up before striking out the last hitter.
Brianna Bires had three singles for Husson. Oberg and Karen Flaherty each singled for UMF’s two hits.
Husson, Thomas split
At Thomas College in Waterville, Hank Vinall, Alex Curtis and John Villanueva combined to drive in seven runs in the nightcap to give Thomas an 8-3 victory.
Tommy Burns and Jesse Colford teamed up on a six-hit shutout in the opener and Tyler Young homered twice to lead Husson by Thomas 4-0.
Husson is now 12-19 overall, 8-10 in the North Atlantic Conference while Thomas is 6-25 and 3-13.
In the second game, Vinall knocked in three runs with a double and a sacrifice fly, Curtis had a run-scoring double and an RBI single and Villanueva produced a two-run double in a three-run second-inning rally that provided the Terriers with a 4-0 lead.
Ryan Scepansky, Dylan Copeland and Jonah Gorgone collaborated on a six-hitter for Thomas.
Alex Chapman and Sam Huston each doubled for Husson.
In the opener, Burns allowed six hits over six innings with four strikeouts and two walks before Jesse Colford pitched the seventh, allowing a walk and striking out two.
Young clubbed a solo homer to left in the third and a two-run shot to left in the fourth before Nick Guerrette singled home a seventh-inning run.
Jacob Keenan had a double for Thomas.
UMaine-Bowdoin game canceled
Wednesday’s baseball game between the University of Maine and Bowdoin College at UMaine’s Mahaney Diamond in Orono has been canceled due to impending inclement weather.
UMaine will play next this weekend when it travels for a three-game America East series against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The Black Bears will play a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday.