ELLICOTT CITY, Md. – UMBC softball's offense exploded for 20 runs and a .308 batting average in Wednesday's doubleheader sweep of Howard at Kiwanis Park. The Retrievers' offensive efforts were highlighted by a pair of grand slams in game two from senior Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) and sophomore Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Md./South River).
UMBC picked up a 10-6 victory in game one behind a three RBI three-for-four performance from junior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) and two runs batted in apiece from Sganga and junior Kathleen Sharp (Toms River, N.J./Toms River/Brookdale CC). Chance and Sganga helped the Retrievers to a 10-0 five-inning victory in game two. Sganga ended the day with seven runs batted in.
The Retrievers (22-11) took advantage of Howard's defensive miscues in the top of the first inning, loading the bases and scoring four runs on two hits in the frame, with Sganga and Sharp each picking up an RBI in the inning.
The Bison (1-20) led off the bottom of the second inning with a double to center fielder from right fielder Alexa Walker. A muffed throw on a bunt from second baseman Sade Estes brought Walker home and started a five-run inning for Howard. Designated player Briana Banks singled to put runners on first and third and short stop Jasmine Gammons tied up the contest at four apiece with a three-run home run over the right field fence. Pitcher Alex Flynn added one more run for the Bison, knocking in catcher Rejanae Brooks from third on an infield single, to take the 5-4 advantage.
The Retrievers knotted up the contest in the third on a single to right field from Sharp and regained the lead in the top of the fourth on one of Hall's three doubles on the day.
On a full count with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Walker struck again for the Bison, launching a shot over the center field fence to even the score at six apiece. UMBC starting pitcher Nicole Casagrand (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) finished her day in the fifth, allowing three earned runs on six hits in 4.2 innings of work .
A lead-off single from Katlin Olesky (Irvine, Calif./Northwood/Saddleback College) and an errant throw on a bunt from Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Keough) put runners on first and second for Hall in the top of the sixth. The Retrievers' RBI leader delivered, driving in the go-ahead run with a double down the left field line. Sganga and freshman Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) each drove in runs in the frame following a walk that loaded the bases from sophomore Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern), giving the Retrievers a three-run advantage, 9-6.
Hall added further insurance in the top of the seventh inning tallying her third RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly with runners on second and third, extending UMBC's lead to 10-6.
Lane (5-5) earned the victory in the circle, allowing one hit in 2.1 innings of work. Flynn was credited with the loss surrendering four earned runs in six innings of work.
The Retrievers jumped out in front in the top of the first of game two, as a lead-off walk and stolen base from O'Malley was followed by a pair of fly outs that scored her from second.
A single to left field from Lane loaded the bases in the top of the third after Hall was hit by a pitch and O'Neill drew a walk. Chance cleared the bases and gave the Retrievers a 5-0 advantage on a grand slam over the left field fence. UMBC was not done in the inning, as Sganga recorded her third RBI of the day on a double down the left field line that scored freshman Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) from second. UMBC's outburst prompted the exit of starting pitcher Dominique Lawrence.
Control issues from relief pitcher Alexa Walker loaded the bases in the top of the fifth for Sganga, who increased her runs batted in to seven for the day on her first collegiate grand slam.
UMBC starting pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) tossed the second shutout of her career in her 13th victory of the season. Holte allowed two hits in the win.
The Retrievers return to America East action with a weekend series at Binghamton. A doubleheader is schedule for Saturday, April 5 and a single game on Sunday, April 6.