As UMBC softball continues their run at a conference championship, freshman Tori Alexander is remaining effective after a fast start.
Thanks to excellent play from Alexander, her fellow freshman and team veterans, the Retrievers are seven and two in the America East conference. That record good enough for second place just behind Stony Brook University who has five wins and one loss. Alexander is batting a team high .424 out of the leadoff role and is leading the team in runs scored with 27. She has played in 29 of the team’s 31 games, which is solid for a first year player.
“It is easy to get a big head when you are succeeding, and to lose confidence when you are struggling. Our team environment helps keep Tori and everyone grounded,” Senior Catcher Taylor Hall said.
Alexander is listed as a shortstop, but has spent time filling holes around the diamond. She has played mostly centerfield and has locked down the position with a 1.00 fielding percentage. She has also filled in as the designated hitter when she needs to. The stellar frosh. hailing from Woodbridge, VA leads the team with 13 stolen bases, and is third with a .475 on base percentage.
Being able to get on base and then steal a base is crucial for any good leadoff hitter. Being able to turn a single or a walk into a double makes driving in runs much easier for the middle of the lineup. Alexander has walked nine times and only struck out eight times making her one of only four players on the team with more walks than punch outs.
“The most important thing we need to succeed is two out hits, early on we were not getting those hits, but it is great that Alexander is getting early success in her career. The more she does this, the more confidence she will get,” Coach Joe French said.
It is not all about getting on base for the freshman though, she is third on the team with a .533 slugging percentage and had driven in 17 runs over 29 games. To go along with those numbers, she has knocked 39 hits and two home runs.
The conference has recognized her success in her first year in collegiate play, awarding her America East Rookie of the Week three times, including twice in a row the last few weeks.
“Sometimes when you take longer to be successful you can lose some confidence, you see it in the Major Leagues even. Early success builds your confidence and your team’s confidence,” French said.
One of her career highlights came during her April 3 match up against University of Massachusetts Lowell. Alexander hit her first career home run in that game, and then followed it up with her second career shot. She drove in four runs total, which was the difference in a five to one win over the Riverhawks.
There is plenty of time left in the season for Alexander to continue to put up excellent numbers, but there are only two conference series left. The Retrievers need to take care of business against Binghamton University, then their final matchup comes against the first place Stony Brook Seawolves.
The final series matchup should be interesting and could decide which team wins the conference. Alexander is going to have to continue succeeding if they want to beat Stony Brook on the road.