HAMPTON, VA – Senior Belen Benitez (E. Los Angeles, Calif.) continued her brilliance with the bat as she notched two doubles and two RBI, but it was not enough as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore softball team fell to Delaware, 8-7, in the final game of the Hampton University Tournament on Sunday. Her effort in the game moves her extra base hit total to three for the weekend as she had six RBI in three days. With the loss, the Lady Hawks conclude the tournament with a 1-3 record.
UMES (4-12) opened with a substantial lead in the contest but were unable to keep the Blue Hen bats at bay, where the home team tallied a four-run sixth inning to take the lead. UMES capitalized on three Delaware errors and saw Benitez and senior Jasmine James (Willingboro, N.J.) each post two hits. Altogether, UMES had six players collect hits and stole five bases.
The Lady Hawks opened up the game with a bang as they scored five runs in the first. Freshman Vanessa Gomez (Belleville, N.J.) singled to lead off the game and scored two batters later on a ball in play by senior Carmen Gurrola (Arleta, Calif.). Sophomore Morgan King (Danville, Ill.) singled to move over Gurrola and the pair moved up one base on a passed ball. A bunt single by James scored Gurrola which would chase UD starter, Hannah Rust. UMES finished the inning with an RBI by freshman Trenece Nash (Decatur, Ga.) and a two RBI double by Benitez.
Following a scoreless first thrown by Gurrola, UMES upped its lead to six with a solo tally in the second. Junior Cherokee Williams (Bowie, Md.) walked with one out and scored after she stole home two batters later. Delaware opened its scoring in the bottom of the inning with three runs to bring the score to 6-3.
The game would remain the same until the fifth when Delaware brought its deficit to two with a single run. UMES made the score 7-4 in the sixth after Benitez opened with a double and scored on a single by freshman Emily Diseroad (Manchester, Md.). The score set the stage for Delaware, who used three hits and two free passes to score four runs to snag the come-from-behind victory in the sixth.
Delaware was paced by Amanda Stacevicz, who came in relief to post her third win of the year with nearly seven innings of three-run ball. Hannah George and Tori Conrad each had a pair of hits, with George knocking in two with a second inning double. The Blue Hens outhit UMES 9-8 and left six runners on base.
The Lady Hawks return to action on Wednesday, March 13 at 1 p.m., with a doubleheader against North Carolina Central at Hawk Field. The games will be the first for the team at home in over a month as UMES took 3-of-4 against St. Peter's last time out in Princess Anne.
For complete recaps, results and news of Hawk athletics, please visit www.umeshawks.com