Ferguson Leads Softball Past Howard, 12-5

BALTIMORE, Md. – Senior Katie Ferguson (North East, Md./North East/Cecil CC) slammed two homerun, one in the first inning and one in the third inning, as the UMBC softball team (14-14) evened their record for the season with a 12-5 win over Howard (4-20) Thursday afternoon at the UMBC Softball Stadium.

Better known for her pitching, Ferguson took the full advantage of playing as the designated player on Thursday going 3-for-5 at the plate with a season-high five RBIs.  The first four Retriever batters combined to go 12-for-17 against the Bison with eight RBIs and nine runs scored.  FreshmanTaylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) was a big part of that, going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate.

Freshman Kaila Balatgek (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) also homered for UMBC to give the Retrievers their second game this season with three homeruns.

Junior Heather Brown (Pasadena, Md./Northeast) earned the win, throwing 5.2 innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits.  The right-hander (4-5) recorded one strikeout while forcing 10 groundouts. 

Dominique Lawrence pitched only one-third of an inning for Howard but was charged with the loss after giving up five runs on four hits and two walks.

The Retrievers got on the board early after Brown sent Howard down in order to start the game.  After sophomore Jessica Warner (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) led off with a walk and sophomore Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) followed with a single, Hall put UMBC up, 1-0, on an RBI single to center. Ferguson then stepped up and cleared the bases with her second homerun of the year, a three-run shot to left field.  The Retrievers added two more runs in the inning to build the lead to 5-0.

Howard got back into the game in the third after UMBC wasted a chance to put the game away, stranding three runners on base.  The Bison plated two runs in the inning to pull within three, 5-2. 

UMBC made up for the wasted chance in the bottom half of the inning however, as Ferguson once again followed an RBI hit by Hall, this time a double, with a homerun, this one a two-run shot, to make the score 8-2.

After Howard cut the lead to five, 8-3, Balatgek led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homerun to straight away centerfield to restore the six run cushion.  Warner tacked on another run in the inning with a two-out RBI single, pushing the lead to seven, 10-3.

The scoring continued in the sixth inning as both teams scored twice to provide the final score line, 12-5.

UMBC now has Friday off before hosting St. Peter's for a four-game weekend series in Baltimore.  The Retrievers and the Peahens will meet twice each day with Saturday's doubleheader scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.