BALTIMORE – UMBC softball sophomore Kayla Margentino (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) earned America East Player of the Week honors for her performance on Sunday at the UMBC Dawg Pound Invitational, but the Retrievers dropped a pair of contests in Monday's action, falling in extra innings to Marist, 7-6, and concluding the tournament with an 8-1 loss to Rhode Island.
The honor is the first for Margentino, who batted a team-best .571 (4-for-7) in the Retrievers' two games on Sunday and drove in two of the team's four runs, including a walk-off single to give UMBC a 3-2 victory against Howard. The sophomore first baseman had a .625 on-base percentage in the pair of contests.
In Monday's action, UMBC suffered a pair of tough innings that allowed its opponents to score 10 runs on seven hits and two errors, each proving to be the difference maker in the contests.
Marist got on the board, scoring its leadoff batter to take a 1-0 lead. Kyrsten Van Natta drew a walk in the game's first at bat and stole second to get into scoring position. Third baseman Danielle Koltz drove Van Natta in with a single to center field.
The Retrievers jumped out in front in the bottom of the inning, as freshman center fielder Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Kenough) walked and stole second. Sophomore Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) belted a two-run homer – her fifth of the season – to put UMBC up 2-0. UMBC continued to produce in the inning, with right fielder Ashley Scroggin (Stafford, Va./North Stafford) walked and reached third on a single by junior shortstop Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton), one of three hits in the game for Chance. Chance moved into scoring position on a wide pitch and was driven home on a two-run double down the left field line by freshman Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Md./South River), to put the black and gold out in front 4-0 after one.
Just as Retrievers' starting pitcher Rachel Ionata (Tampa, Fla./Palm Harbor University) seemed to have avoided any damage in a second-inning jam, a two-out grand slam into right center field from Koltz allowed four unearned runs to cross the plate. Nicole Cheek followed with a homer of her own in the next at bat to make it a 6-4 UMBC deficit.
The black and gold got one back on a solo home run from Scroggin in the bottom of the third, bringing the Retrievers within one at 6-5.
It was small ball that scored the equalizer for UMBC in the bottom of the sixth inning, sophomore Mary Hartman (Eldersburg, Md./Century) led off the inning with a single to left field and moved over to second on a wild pitch from starter Janine Lalli. Sophomore Courtney Reinfeld (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas) bunted Hartman over to third and O'Malley punched the RBI-single into left center field.
With the scored tied in the top of the eighth, Lalli was placed on second, senior Joelle Zahka dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance Lalli to third and freshman Colleen McWilliams grounded out to the third baseman, giving the Red Foxes the one-run advantage heading into the bottom of the eighth.
The Retrievers tried for the same result, bunting Sganga over to third, but back-to-back batters left her stranded.
Ionata (0-4) allowed one earned run in the loss and struck out six batters.
UMBC started game two very similar to game one, with O'Malley drawing her third walk of the day to reach first and stole second, but this time O'Malley was driven in on a single up the middle by Margentino to put the Retrievers out in front.
After allowing only two hits up to that point, senior pitcher Heather Brown (Pasadena, Md./Northeast) allowed Rhode Island to record five hits in a five-run fifth inning. The Rams would tack on two more in the sixth and one run in the seventh.
Brown snapped a three-game win streak with the loss and moves to 3-2 on the season.