ORONO, Maine – UMBC softball's sophomore Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) reached base on six of her seven plate appearances, recording three hits and three walks, to help the Retrievers win their first series of their America East schedule. UMBC fell to Maine in game one on Saturday afternoon, 8-0, but captured the 7-6 victory in the series finale at Mike Kessock Field.
The Retrievers improve to 24-16 overall and 2-6 in league play after the split, while Maine moves to 14-13 on the season and 6-5 in the AEC.
The Retrievers took advantage of early pitching troubles in game two, with Maine starter Hannah Hill walking the first three batters of the contest. Freshman Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) capitalized with a two-run double to right center field to put UMBC out in front, 2-0. Classmate Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) singled to second to drive in one, while senior Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) scored another on a bunt. Junior Katlin Olesky (Irvine, Calif./Northwood/Saddleback College) singled through the left side to score Jackson and give the Retrievers a 5-0 advantage.
A walk and a single in the bottom half of the first put two aboard for junior Jessica Burk, who cleared the bases with a three-run shot to left field to bring Maine back within two, 5-3.
Olesky picked up her second hit of the contest on a double to right center in the top of the fourth inning. O'Neill continued her hot bat, drilling her fourth home run in the last six games on a two-run blast to left field to further add to UMBC's advantage, 7-3.
Maine chipped away at its deficit, scoring one in the fourth and adding two in the fifth, forcing the departure of Lane after six runs on six hits in the circle. A single and a walk against Holte loaded the bases for Maine, but the rookie escaped the jam without any further damage, sending the Retrievers into the sixth with the slight, 7-6 lead.
Holte retired three straight batters in the bottom of the seventh to pick up her second save of the season. Lane earned the victory for the Retrievers to improve to 6-6 on the year. Hill was credited with the loss. Senior Kylie Sparks threw 3.1 innings of work for the Black Bears, allowing four runs on six hits, while junior Alexis Bogdanovich threw 3.2 scoreless innings.
Maine jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the first inning of game one, scoring four runs on five hits in the frame. Freshman Samantha Ralphs drove in two runs in the fourth on a double and came around to score the third run of the inning on an infield error from the Retrievers, extending the lead to 7-0.
Burk led off the bottom of the sixth with a double down the left field line and ended the contest in the frame when she scored on a sacrifice fly from freshman Shelby Obert.
Holte tossed 3.2 innings in the loss, surrendering five earned runs on nine hits. Bogdanovich tossed the six-inning shutout, holding the Retrievers to three hits and striking out seven. O'Neill finished with two of UMBC's three hits in the game.
The Retrievers continue America East action with a three-game series against league-newcomer UMass Lowell, starting on Friday, April 18 at the UMBC Softball Stadium.