BALTIMORE—The UMBC softball team (9-9) took both St. Francis (6-18) and Morgan State (6-14) to extra innings and won both games in eight, defeating the Red Flash, 7-6, and the Bears, 12-11, on the first day of the UMBC Spring Classic at UMBC Softball Stadium.
UMBC 7, St. Francis 6 (8 innings)
After an easy 1-2-3 first inning for UMBC senior hurler Stephanie Weigman (Elkridge, Md./Archbishop Spalding), senior second baseman Lauren Brummell (Hanover, Va./Hanover) led off the bottom of the inning with her team-leading third home run of the season to give the Retrievers an early lead.
The teams combined to strand 11 runners over the next three innings, but the score remained the same until senior left fielder Julia Culottablasted her second homer of the season with one out in the fifth, putting UMBC on top, 2-0.
The Red Flash got on the board in the sixth with an unearned run but leaving the bases loaded, and the Retrievers added to their lead in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single by Brummell.
But St. Francis struck for four runs on four hits in the top of the seventh to take a 5-3 lead, the big hit a two-run double by center fielder Jasa Mitchell.
Trailing for the first time, UMBC would not go quietly, loading the bases with no outs and tying the game with RBIs by senior designated player Lauren O'Malley (Pasadena, Md./Archbishop Spalding) and sophomore right fielder Ashley Scroggin (Stafford, Va./North Stafford).
The Red Flash scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth to take a 6-5 lead, but back-to-back one-out hits in the bottom of the eighth – a double by senior center fielder Lynn Pronobis (Waldorf, Md./McDonough) and a single by Culotta – drove in the tying and winning runs.
Weigman (6-5) earned the complete game victory after allowing six runs (two earned) on eight hits and four walks in eight innings. Megan Layne (5-13) took the loss after surrendering seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits and seven walks in 7.1 innings of work. Both pitchers struck out three batters.
Brummell and Culotta paced the Retrievers offensively with matching 2-for-4, 2-RBI performances.
UMBC 12, Morgan State 11 (8 innings)
In another wild one, Morgan State struck first with a one-out RBI single by first baseman Tamra Griffin in the top of the first, and the Bears maintained their 1-0 lead until the third, when the Retrievers scored three runs on three hits, including a two-run single by junior right fielder Amanda Damiano (Tamaqua, Pa./Marian).
The Bears got one back in the fourth with the aid of a Retriever error, but UMBC responded with three more hits in the bottom of the inning, including an RBI double by Brummell that made it a 4-2 game.
But Morgan State got three more hits in the fifth to tie it up, and the score remained knotted at 4-4 until the bottom of the sixth, when the Retrievers exploded for four runs on four hits, including a two-run double by Pronobis and back-to-back singles by Culotta and junior first baseman Katie Ferguson(North East, Md./North East/Cecil CC).
But the Bears matched that output in the top of the seventh, using three doubles to tie the score at 8-8, and UMBC left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, sending the game to extra frames.
Morgan State reached Ferguson, the relief pitcher, for three unearned runs in the top of the eight to take an 11-8 led, but the Retrievers were unfazed. Ferguson's RBI single started the game-winning rally, and freshman shortstop Jessica Warner (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) capped it with a one-out walk-off single down the right field line.
Ferguson (2-2) picked up the victory in relief. Sophomore Heather Brown (Pasadena, Md./Northeast) started the game for the Retrievers and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits in six innings. Jordan Eades suffered the loss for Morgan State after giving up four runs on six hits in three innings of work.
Ferguson also paced the Retrievers at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. UMBC pounded out a season-high 15 hits in the game. The Bears collected 14 base knocks, including three each by Griffin and second baseman Amber Frame, who also had two RBI apiece.
The Retrievers return to action on Saturday, when they host Niagara on the second day of the UMBC Spring Classic.