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Home And Road Doubleheaders For Softball

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Home And Road Doubleheaders For Softball

ALBANY, N.Y. – Even when the University at Albany softball team has been able to play all of its scheduled games in a weekend, the weather has still played a role.  The three game series against Maine over the weekend was played in its entirety, but weather forced a shift in the layout of the games.  The schedule called for a doubleheader on Saturday with the series finale on Sunday.  Instead, weather permitted only one game on Saturday, and the doubleheader was played on Sunday. 

Further complicating matters, the three-game series with Binghamton that was pushed from last week was made a doubleheader only, and will be played on Tuesday.  Immediately afterwards, the Danes will have to shift their attention for their road doubleheader against Bryant on Wednesday, meaning UAlbany (13-8, 3-3) will play three doubleheaders in four days.

“It’s a short turnaround from the weekend,” said head coach Chris Cannata.  “I would have liked a few more days to prepare, but we’ve lost so many games already I can’t cancel games now.  It’s the nature of playing in the northeast, and something we have to adjust to.”

Binghamton (12-10, 3-0) vied with UAlbany a year ago for the America East regular season title, a race that went down to the last weekend of the season, when the two teams met at Binghamton.  UAlbany eventually came out on top, taking two of three from the Bearcats, earning a conference record of 15-2, to Binghamton’s conference record of 14-4.  The three games played were decided by a total of four runs.  The teams met again in the America East tournament, with UAlbany defeating Binghamton once more by a score of 4-2.

“Binghamton was one of the best teams in the conference last year,” said Cannata.  “They had the coach of the year (Michelle Burrell) and the rookie of the year (Lisa Cadogan) last year.  They hit well, and hit for power, and they steal bases.  It’s always a good game when we play them, and we need to play well to beat them.”

The inconsistency in the schedule has had an effect on the progression of the team, due to missed games, long layoffs, and a general inability to practice outside.

“We’re unsure on defense right now,” said Cannata.  “That’s from not being able to practice outside.  We’re tentative, and nothing good comes from playing tentatively.  We need to play with more confidence, both offensively and defensively.  But it’s something we have to work through.”

With the offense yet to fully come around, Coach Cannata is turning to a veteran player as an example for the team to emulate.

Vicky McFarland is a great base-runner.  She isn’t just fast.  She’s aggressive.  She’s taking the mentality she should be taking.  She goes for it, and that’s a mentality all of our players should have.”

McFarland stole six bases in the five games UAlbany played last week.  On the season, she has 21 stolen bases on 22 attempts.  Additionally, four different players stole a base in the final game against Maine, offering an alternative source of offense while the bats come around.

There will be no rest for the weary, however, as UAlbany will visit Bryant University (18-13) for a doubleheader the day after the Danes play Binghamton. 

“To be honest, we haven’t played our best games against Bryant in recent years,” said Cannata.  For whatever reason we always seem to have an off day when we play them.  But that’s not an excuse.  We need to play better on our end.  It’s hard to predict how it will go this year, because they have a new head coach, which usually means a change in style.  So we may see some unexpected things on Wednesday.”

“The travel aspect is difficult, as is the short turnaround,” Cannata continued.  “I’m sure the team is tired after the games this weekend, but we need to practice and prepare.  The conference tournament is three days in a row, so we need to be able to play back-to-back-to-back days.  So, in the long run, it’s good to be able to play, and to compete, back-to-back.”

Though this particular back-to-back wasn’t originally on the schedule, the Danes have two other sets like this one later in the season.  One road trip will have UAlbany play a doubleheader at Colgate and then a doubleheader at Cornell in consecutive days.  Another will see the Danes play two at Siena and then two at Army in consecutive days.

Tuesday’s games against Binghamton are the last two home games UAlbany will play before they close out their home schedule on April 26-27 against UMass Lowell.  Between now and then, the Danes have nine consecutive road games.  After the UMass Lowell series, UAlbany ends the season with seven consecutive games on the road.

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