SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Jean Stevens went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs as the University of Maine softball squad opened its season with a 9-1 win over N.C. Central on Friday evening.
The Black Bears jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs in the inning, Jessica Burk doubled to the gap in right center. After Nikki Byron worked a walk and a single from Hannah Hill loaded the bases, Stevens ripped a double into center field, plating both Burk and Byron.
Katlin Norton kept the Maine rally alive as her single through the left side plated Hill with Maine’s third run of the inning.
The Eagles cut the Maine lead to 3-1 when London Germ’s single turned into an unearned run in the top of the third.
Maine answered in the bottom of the inning as Hill worked a leadoff walk before Stevens homered to center, giving Maine a 5-1 lead and driving Eagle starter Bianka Molina out of the game.
Maine kept the offensive attack on in the third as back-to-back walks from Norton and Chelsea Kunin started another Maine rally. Makaila Kowalsky flied out to left which allowed both Norton and Kunin to tag and advance. A throwing error on the play by the Eagles’ catcher allowed Norton to score on the play. EmJ Fogel reached on an error which brought Kunin in from third with Maine’s seventh run of the day.
The Black Bears extended their lead to 9-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Burk began the inning with a single to short before Byron’s groundout moved Burk to second. Hill then ripped a double to left center, scoring Burk. Stevens followed with a groundout, pushing Hill over to third before Norton reached on a throwing error which allowed Hill to score from third, giving Maine a seven run lead and ending the game on the run rule.
Spoehr picked up the win in the circle for Maine after tossing five innings while giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits with five strikeouts. Kylie Sparks went one inning in relief with a pair of strikeouts.
The Black Bears return to action Saturday with a pair of games beginning at noon with a contest against Western Carolina.
Thomas 93, Johnson St. 72
At Waterville, Thomas (12-9, 8-7 NAC) was able to overcome a slow start to defeat Johnson State (8-13, 6-8 NAC) on Friday.
The opening half saw eight lead changes in the early stages, with the Badgers leading by as many as seven at the 15:19 mark on a 3-pointer by Asim Khan. Thomas would grab the lead for good in the ninth minute and never turn back, finishing the half with an 11 point advantage.
Khan led the opening stanza with 14 points, going 3-4 from the field and 2-2 from beyond the arc. Levi Barnes would have a team leading 11 points for Thomas going into the second half of play.
The second half would be much of the same, as Thomas never relinquished its lead.
Jarrad DeVaughn finished with a game-high 23 points. Thomas held the advantage in rebounds 39-35.
UMPI 95, UMFK 72
The win allowed the Owls to sweep the season series with the Bengals and move to within a game of .500 (11-12) with two to play. UMFK fell to 2-21.
UMFK’s Adam Bouchard scored the game’s first points with a jumper at 19:02. It would be the first and only lead for the visitors. UMPI went on to score the game’s next 10 points, with Warner contributing half the tallies.
In the second half, a 14-3 run put the game out of reach.
Manifold’s 27, and Warner’s 26 led UMPI (11-12), which swept the season series over UMFK.
The Bengals were led by Yoshives Belizaire’s 22.
MMA 54, NEC 47
At Castine, Leah Jackson and Bekah Campbell combined for 10 points in overtime to help Maine Maritime knock off New England College Friday. The Mariners improved to 11-10 overall, 8-6 NAC while the Pilgrims fell to 15-7, 10-5.
Kate Levy led NEC with 22 and Kayla Lawlor added nine. Taylor Burgess grabbed a team-best 13 rebounds.
After Burgess evened the game at 45-45 early in overtime, Campbell converted a traditional three-point play, Kari Jones connected on a layup and Jackson sank two free throws, to put the Mariners ahead for good 52-45 with 1:37 left.
UMFK 79, UMPI 74
At Presque Isle Thursday night, the University of Maine-Fort Kent used a 24-7 advantage on free throws to hold off the University of Maine-Presque Isle.
UMFK took control early in the second half, slowly building their lead until it reached 57-45 with 7:38 left.
However, UMFK hit 8 of 10 free throws in the final 49 seconds to preserve the victory. For the game, UMFK was a sizzling 24-of-29 (82 percent) from the charity stripe compared to Presque Isle’s 7-of-9.
Every Bengal starter reached double figures led by Jenn Colpitts’ 16. Brooke Harris and Sam Carapellucci scored 14 while Kayla Richards and Taylor Boucher chipped in 12 apiece.
Kaplan led the Owls with 14 points. McNally scored 12 and pulled down 11 rebounds for her second double-double in her past 3 games. She also dished out 5 assists.