BALTIMORE, Md. – Freshman Courtney Paone (Middletown, N.J./Middletown North) drove a fly ball to right field that was misplayed by the outfielder, allowing Katrina Gaar (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar/Orange Coast CC) to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh as the UMBC softball team (12-14, 1-2 America East) rallied to defeat Albany (13-7, 2-1 America East), 4-3, Monday afternoon at the UMBC Softball Stadium.
Trailing, 3-2, heading to the bottom half of the seventh, the first three Retrievers reached base, tying the game on a single to right-centerfield by sophomore Jessica Warner (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown). Two batters later, Paone hit a fly ball allowing Gaar to score the winner.
Senior Katie Ferguson (North East, Md./North East/Cecil CC) earned the win, pitching a complete game while allowing only two earned runs on five hits. The right-hander also went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning.
Albany's Brittany MacFawn also pitched a complete game, but was charged with the loss after yielding four runs on seven hits. She did recorded seven strikeouts on Monday.
The day did not look promising for Ferguson as Albany's leadoff batter, Vicky McFarland, singled and then stole second and third. She came home on an RBI groundout by the batter. After a hit batter and a single, Ferguson forced Lauren Alcorn into an inning ending double play.
The Retrievers got the run right back though and took the lead as Ferguson helped her own cause with an RBI single to left. With runners on second and third, the pitcher lined a base hit to left driving in Warner while Paone was able to score on a fielding error by the left fielder.
Albany tied the score almost immediately, plating an unearned run in the top of the second inning.
Each team got plenty of runners on base as the squads combined for 12 hits and 10 walks, but could not make the decisive blow against either pitcher.
The visitors made a bid for the win in the top of the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch to take a one-run lead, 3-2. Ferguson regrouped however, and forced a pop up to end the inning and strand a runner on third.
Neither team could muster a rally in the bottom of the sixth or top of the seventh, respectively, setting up the pivotal bottom half of the inning.
Pinch hitting, freshman Kayla Margentino (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) led off the inning with a walk and then was promptly replaced by pinch runner Amanda Damiano (Tamaqua, Pa./Marian Catholic). Gaar and Warner then hit consecutive singles to tie the score and setup then game-ending flyball.
UMBC continues its busy stretch by returning to the field to host George Washington tomorrow. First pitch between the Retrievers and Colonials is set for 2 p.m. at the UMBC Softball Stadium.