BALTIMORE – UMBC softball looks to stay hot as it continues its road stint at the Spartan Classic on Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2 at the NSU Softball Field. Live stats and video are available for all the weekend's contests, with links accessible at UMBCRetrievers.com.
The Retrievers open their schedule with a 10 a.m. contest versus Delaware on Saturday and follow with a 2 p.m. matchup against host Norfolk State. Sunday opens with an 11 am. battle versus Monmouth and concludes with a 3 p.m. rematch versus the Spartans, which was moved from its originally scheduled time of 2 p.m. on Friday.
UMBC (6-2) is off to its best start since the 2010 season when it posted a 7-1 mark through eight games. The Retrievers are coming off a four-game sweep at the Phoenix Opening Tournament in Elon, N.C. last weekend. Junior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) and freshman Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) each earned conference recognition following the weekend, with Hall earning America East Player of the Week and College Sports Madness' America East Softball Player of the Week and Holte being named the AEC Pitcher of the Week.
Hall posted a .688 slugging percentage in Elon, tallying four hits in nine at bats and drawing seven walks. The junior catcher is hitting .348 on the season, with a team-best five doubles and six runs batted in. Senior Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) is batting .600 with runners in scoring position and has a team-high eight RBI, while freshman Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional) leads the team, batting at a .385 clip and registering 10 hits and five RBI.
In the circle, Holte (4-0) is posting a 1.93 ERA and is the first Retrievers' freshman since Heather Brown in 2010 to earn victories in her first four collegiate decisions. The rookie has allowed just one walk in 29.0 innings of work. Classmates Nicole Casagrand (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) and Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) have each posted a 1-1 record on the year.
Delaware enters the classic with a 2-8 overall record after posting a 1-4 mark at the Citrus Classic last weekend. Fourth-year head coach Jamie Wohlbach's squad is led by 2013 All-Colonial Athletic Association Second Team honoree Jessica Grisler, who is hitting a team-best .333 with three runs batted in. In the circle, freshman Carolyn Szymanski (2-5) has accounted for both of the Blue Hens' victories and has tossed a team-most 32.0 innings of work.
Monmouth opens its 2014 slate, its first campaign in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, at the classic. The Hawks finished third in the Northeast Conference Tournament a season ago and were tabbed to do the same in the MAAC preseason poll under third-year head coach Louie Berndt.
Norfolk State (1-6) picked up its first victory of the season in game one of the Spartan Clash last weekend at NSU Softball Field, a 3-1 win versus Yale. Senior Morgan Boyd is leading the charge offensively for the Spartans, hitting .500 on the year and adding a team-best four stolen bases. In the circle, senior Jamie Schulle (1-3) has a team-low 4.57 ERA with 10 strike outs in 15.1 innings pitched.
The Retrievers defeated Norfolk State, 5-3, on Feb. 16 at the Seahawk Invitational. Chance led UMBC with a two-for-four outing from the dish and batting in three runs, while Holte allowed two earned runs and struck out six in the victory.