BALTIMORE – UMBC softball senior pitcher Heather Brown (Pasadena, Md./Northeast) tossed a beauty in her final appearance at the UMBC Softball Stadium as the Retrievers celebrated Senior Day, but an infielder dribbler in the top of the eighth inning helped Hartford to a 2-0 victory in UMBC’s America East finale.
The Hawks improve to 19-29 overall and 9-7 in league play with one week remaining in the regular season, while the Retrievers close out the conference slate with a 1-17 mark (9-40).
The contest proved to be a pitcher’s duel, as Brown maintained control throughout the contest, facing just nine batters in the first three innings and Hartford starter Zuzana Kudernatschova held a no-hitter through five innings.
The Hawks put two runners on in the fourth inning, stringing back-to-back singles to opposite fields to place runners on second and third, but Brown fanned her third batter of the afternoon to keep the game scoreless.
A walk from freshman right fielder Danielle O'Neill (Loathian, Md./Southern) and a single off the shortstop’s glove put runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the sixth for the Retrievers, but Kudernatschova was able to pick up a strikeout and get junior second baseman Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) to ground into a double play to end the frame.
Hartford responded by leading off the top of the seventh inning with a double to center field from third baseman Jackie Kelly. However, the pitcher’s duel continued as Brown was able to retire the next three batters.
After the Retrievers were retired one, two, three in the bottom of the seventh, the Hawks picked up a pair of singles to right field and added stolen base to put runners on second and third. Brown picked up her fourth strikeout on the afternoon for the first out of the inning, but a dribbler to the shortstop allowed center fielder Erica Phelps to slide home safely and breakup the scoreless affair. Hartford would add one more run on a wild pitch in the inning, put the Hawks out in front, 2-0.
Kudernatschova earned her second shutout victory of the weekend to improve to 12-12 on the season. Brown was credited with the loss, surrendering two runs on seven hits.
Seniors Heather Brown and Ashley Scroggin were honored prior to the game for their hard work and dedication to the UMBC community and the softball program, each appearing in front of their home fans for the final time at the UMBC Softball Stadium.
UMBC travels for its season finale, as it takes on Niagara for a three-game series, starting with a doubleheader on May 4 at Niagara Softball Field. First pitch is set for noon.