PLYMOUTH, N.H. –Ari Bilotta hit a walk-off RBI single to right field, and Giovanna Bonilla beat the play at the plate as the sixth-seeded UMass Boston Beacons earned a 6-5 win over the third-seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies in the second round of the 2018 Little East Conference Softball Championship hosted by Plymouth State University at D & M Park.
The loss eliminates the Huskies from the tournament championship. Southern Maine concludes its 2018 season with a record of 21-20. UMass Boston is now 2-0 in the tournament and will face the winner of the No. 4 Western Connecticut vs. No. 5 UMass Dartmouth game today at 4:00 p.m.
Southern Maine trailed the Beacons 4-0 after the second inning as UMB used five hits and a pair of Husky errors to jump ahead. Giga Braga, Bonilla, Cassidy Gaeta and Kiera Prusmack each had RBIs in the inning. The Huskies cut their deficit in half in the top of the fourth on a two-run RBI single up the middle from Kayleigh Bohan. Bohan's single scored senior Taylor Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) and freshman Hannah Kenney (Oxford, Maine/Oxford Hills) – Lux started the rally with a single to left.
In the top of the sixth, USM scored two more runs executing a first-and-third double steal with Kenney and Lux while benefitting from a Beacons' throwing error to tie the score up at four. Lux led off the inning with a single, while Kenney was hit by a pitch. However, UMB responded and went ahead 5-4 in the home half of the inning with an RBI single from Alyssa Tulley.
With just three outs remaining in regulation for the Huskies, Southern Maine was able to get the game-tying run to force extra innings. With one out, senior Courtney Davis (Woburn, Maine) drew her fourth walk of the game, and then moved to third on a UMB fielding error to set up first and third with one down. Lux then drove in the game-tying run with an RBI ground out before the Beacons ended the inning.
In extras, Southern Maine went down in order in the top of the eight, and the Huskies recorded the first two outs of the bottom of the inning before the Beacons drew back-to-back walks to put runners in scoring position. With Bonilla on second, Bilotta hit a shallow single to right, and the Huskies' relay throw was on target, but Gaeta narrowly slid around the tag to get the go-ahead run.
UMB's Jess Greenspan earned her second win of the LEC tournament. She pitched eight innings allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits and five walks while striking out three. Sophomore Alexis Brown (Malden, Mass.), who entered the game in relief in the second inning, was tagged with the loss. Brown allowed two earned runs in six innings pitched, yielding six hits and four walks.
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