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Home Runs, Back to Back, Lift River Hawks to 5-4 Walkoff vs. Maine

LOWELL, Mass. – Junior Sydney Barker (Upland, Calif.) and freshman Maria Moccio (Feeding Hills, Mass.) tagged back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the seventh to lift the UMass Lowell softball team (16-22, 10-2 AE) to a come-from-behind, 5-4 win against America East rival Maine (18-19, 7-3 AE) on Tuesday.

After coming back to tie the game in the fifth, the River Hawks found themselves trailing once again, this time at 4-3, heading into their final at-bat. Barker stepped in to lead off the inning and turned on the second pitch she saw, sending a ball high over the left field fence to even the board at 4-4. Moccio then had her turn, facing an 0-2 count when she ripped her first career long ball over the fence in straightaway center for the 5-4, walk-off victory.

“I thought our team came up with some big-time plays and had some big-time hits today,” said Head Coach Danielle Henderson. “At the end, Sydney and Maria coming up with those back-to-back home runs was just clutch. The team showed up wanting to win today and they wouldn’t accept any other outcome besides that.”

The River Hawks capitalized on a bases-loaded situation to start the day, as Barker sent a hard-hit ball deep into the hole at short to knock in the first run in the first inning. The lead was short-lived, though, thanks to a lead-off home run by the Black Bears’ Maddie Decker in the top of the second that knotted the game at 1-1.

Maine pulled in front in the top of the third on a RBI double to the corner in left. The River Hawks threatened in the home half of that inning, putting a pair of runners in scoring position, but they were unable to plate the equalizer. The visitors would add one more to their margin on a well-executed bunt down the first base line in the fourth to take a 3-1 advantage.

In the bottom of the inning, senior Madison Alcorn (Lowell, Mass.) singled up the middle before eventually scoring on a shot down the third base line by sophomore Courtney Cashman (Danvers, Mass.) to get one back for UMass Lowell. The squad then erased the difference in the fifth when senior Vanessa Cooper (Pleasant Gap, Pa.) came through with a two-out, two-bagger to bring in redshirt-sophomore Casey Harding (Cheshire, Conn.), creating a 3-3 stalemate.

Cooper carried the momentum into the sixth, ending the Black Bears’ at-bat with a diving grab that she turned into a double play. However, Maine took its final lead of the day in the top of the seventh on a base hit to right.

In the circle, junior Kaysee Talcik (Shelton, Conn.) and freshman Lovina Capria (Deltona, Fla.) combined for four strikeouts in the decision.

The River Hawks will now make the short trip to Holy Cross for a non-conference, weeknight matchup on Thursday, April 26 beginning at 5 p.m.

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