NIAGARA, N.Y. – UMBC softball took the early advance in their 2013 season finale against Niagara, but were unable to hold off the Purple Eagles, who came from behind for the 4-3 victory with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday afternoon at Niagara Softball Field. The Retrievers conclude their campaign with an 11-41 record, while Niagara improves to 15-28.
A double from sophomore designated player Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va.) and a pair of singles from freshman shortstop Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Keough) and junior first baseman Chelsea Bertoglio (Laguna Hills, Calif./Laguna Hills/Saddleback College) allowed UMBC to jump out to a 1-0 lead in their first at bats.
Another Retriever double, this one from junior second baseman Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton), got UMBC going in the top of the fourth inning. Although Niagara starting pitcher Sydney Smyers was able to retire back-to-back batters, but sophomore center fielder Mary Hartman (Eldersburg, Md./Century) singled to center to drive in Chance and continue the inning. Freshman right fielder Danielle O'Neill (Loathian, Md./Southern) walked to put runners on first and second and O’Malley picked up her second hit of the afternoon to drive in Hartman and give the Retrievers a 3-0 advantage.
The Purple Eagles came storming back in the bottom of the fifth inning, as UMBC starting pitcher walked the first batter of the frame. Designated player Aileen Hinton singled up the middle to put runners on the corners and shortstop Brittany Richberg followed with an RBI-single to left center field. Brown was able to pick up her fourth strikeout of the afternoon for the first out of the inning, but Niagara continued its rally with a single through the left side of the infield from Becky Zill to load the bases. A fielder’s choice marked the second out of the inning, but a single to left field from right fielder Amanda Werth scored two runs for Niagara and evened the contest at three.
With the score still tied at three apiece in the bottom of the seventh, it took Niagara one batter to earn the walk-off victory, as Zill launched the game-winning home run into left field for her second hit of the afternoon.
Brown (6-20) concludes her career with the Retrievers with the loss, allowing four earned runs on 11 hits. Smyers picked up the complete game victory, surrendering three runs on seven hits.
-Seniors Heather Brown and Ashley Scroggin competed in their final games with the Retrievers.
-Brown concludes her career in UMBC’s career records books, placing fifth in innings pitched (461.1), fourth in starts (71), third in appearances (109) and ninth in strikeouts (203).