Blue Hens Wrap Up Regular Season This Weekend vs. Towson Looking To Secure Spot in CAA Tournament
May 5, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
• Live Stats
NEWARK, Del. –The University of Delaware softball team concludes its 2011 regular season this weekend with three home games against Towson, needing just one win to clinch a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
The Blue Hens will host the Tigers in a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Friday at the Delaware Softball Stadium, while Saturday’s 1 p.m. single game will be the final regular season contest for UD seniors Michelle Grap (at right) and Anne Marie Pagano (at left).
Delaware is 20-30 overall this season, and the Blue Hens are currently in fourth place in the CAA with a 9-9 league mark. The Blue Hens need only one victory this weekend or one loss by James Madison to Drexel to secure a spot in the four-team conference tournament, which will be held on May 11-13 at either Hofstra or Georgia State. The Pride and Panthers play a three-game series this weekend, with the winner earning the right to host the championship.
The Blue Hens could also move into the third spot with a sweep of the Tigers, who enter the weekend 25-23 overall and 9-7 in the league. Towson clinched a tournament berth last weekend with a three-game sweep of James Madison, which at 6-11 in the CAA is the only team behind UD in the standings that could catch the Blue Hens.
Delaware has qualified for the CAA Tournament during four of its first nine seasons in the league, although the Blue Hens have not participated in the championships since the 2006 season.
UD is paced offensively by freshman second baseman and current CAA Co-Rookie of the Week Michelle McKinnon, who ranks ninth in the conference with a .331 batting average. Lara Andrews is hitting .305 for the season, while fellow outfielder Jenny Richards is batting .284 with team-highs of 44 hits, 13 doubles and 33 runs scored. Gina Knutson, who enters the weekend with an eight-game hitting streak, is tied for fourth in the league with nine home runs on the campaign.
Amanda Stacevicz, who has won five straight decisions in the circle, continues to lead the Blue Hen pitching staff with an 11-8 record and a 3.15 earned run average, while Pagano is 4-5 with an 3.82 ERA.
Towson features three of the top five batting average leaders in the CAA in Rachel Miller (.360), Erika Stasch (.347) and Andrea Stevenson (.342). Miller has posted team-highs of 54 hits, 34 runs scored and nine doubles, while Sammi DiPompo is hitting .300 with a team-high 32 RBI. Dominique Ortega is 9-11 with a 2.18 earned run average in the circle for the Tigers, while Katie Lingmai is 15-11 with a 2.53 ERA.
Delaware and Towson have already met once this season, as the Blue Hens posted a 3-1 victory on March 5 at the Coastal Carolina Tournament. Stacevicz drilled a home run in that victory, while Grap added an RBI bunt single. Stacevicz also picked up the victory after firing 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. The two rivals have faced each other during every season since 1976, and have split eight meetings since the beginning of the 2009 season.
Both Grap and Pagano have been four-year major contributors during their Blue Hen careers. Grap has appeared in 185 games at Delaware, eighth most in school history, while her 23 career home runs are a Blue Hen record. She also is fourth all-time at UD with 98 RBI, eighth with 212 total bases, tied for 13th with 76 runs scored and 20th with 119 hits, while her 13 homers in 2010 led the CAA and established a school single season mark.
Pagano, like Grap a three-year letterwinner entering this season, has earned four victories and a pair of saves this year while compiling a 3.82 ERA. She has been particularly effective during CAA games in 2011, posting a 1.11 earned run average to go with a victory over James Madison and the two saves against UNC Wilmington. Pagano currently ranks third in Delaware history with 114 career appearances, sixth with 235 strikeouts, tied for sixth with 35 wins, seventh with 467.1 innings pitched, and tied for 10th with 37 complete games.Back To Softball Home Softball Story Archive