The University at Albany softball team traveled to South Carolina this weekend to open their season at the Winthrop Invitational.
The Great Danes are looking to improve upon their respectable 2021 season, during which they compiled a 23-19 record, going 12-6 in America East play. The offense will be led by two returning players who appeared in all 42 games last season, Maddi Petrella and Morgan Petty. Petrella led America East in Runs Batted In (RBI) last season with 39.
UAlbany will also see the return of all five of their primary pitchers, including ace Wendi Hammond. Last season Hammond dazzled on the mound with a team best 2.8 ERA, 11 complete games, and four shutouts.
The Great Danes played two games to kick off the invitational this past Friday, the first of which was against Robert Morris University. RMU jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back, winning by a score of 6-2. Petty and graduate student Katie Falotico each doubled in the loss, but the offense struggled to get much of anything going.
The second game on Friday for the Great Danes went much better, as they defeated Winthrop 4-1. Petty had two hits including the first home run of the season for UAlbany. Senior Miranda Jimenez was dominant on the mound, firing a complete game with nine Ks to lead the Danes to victory.
UAlbany split their two games on the second day of the invitational as well, the first of which was against Youngstown State. Senior Lové Drumgole led the team with two RBI, and Falotico went 3-3 with two doubles. Freshman Amelia Freitas was one of three pitchers used, recording three strikeouts in 2.0 innings. A late rally by Albany saw them score three runs in the fifth inning but it wasn’t enough. The Youngstown offense exploded for 10 runs, defeating the Great Danes by a score of 10-5.
The second game on Saturday included some serious dramatics, as Albany stole the win from Ball State 3-2 in 8 innings. Hammond was back on the mound for this one and was electric, pitching all eight innings and tallying seven strikeouts for her first complete game of the year. The game was scoreless until the fifth when Petty hit a solo homer to put the Great Danes up 1-0. Ball State answered in the seventh with their own solo shot.
The game headed to extras tied 1-1, and Ball State scored to put them up 2-1. UAlbany quickly answered in the bottom half, tying things at 2. After a sacrifice bunt and two walks, the bases were loaded with two outs. Sophomore Caitlyn Frederick was on third base and saw her opportunity to end the game right there. She successfully stole home plate and gave the Great Danes a walk-off victory over the Cardinals.
On the final day of the Winthrop Invitational, the UAlbany squad played their final game, falling to Robert Morris 14-12. The Great Danes started well with three runs in the first inning but were surpassed by Robert Morris as they took the win. The UAlbany team tallied four hits and there was four way for the team lead with two RBIs.
UAlbany opens their season at the Winthrop invitational and leaves with a 2-3 record. The Great Danes will return to action at the Spring Games on March 4-6 looking to improve on the start of the season.