Big Bats Power UMBC Softball to Sweep of UMass Lowell
BALTIMORE – Senior Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) and junior Mary Hartman (Eldersburg, Md./Century) each blasted homeruns and freshman pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) tossed her 18th complete game of the year as UMBC finished off the series sweep of UMass Lowell with a 6-2 win in the weekend finale, Saturday afternoon in America East action at UMBC Softball Stadium.
UMBC (27-16, 5-6 AE) scored two runs in each of the first three frames and Holte (16-7) surrendered just two runs, only one earned, on four hits while striking out nine batters.
The Retrievers got to UMass Lowell (8-29, 1-10 AE) starter Lauren Ramirez (2-11) early, scoring four runs against the right-hander in just 1.1 innings of work.
After Holte sent down the River Hawks in order in the first, which included two swinging strike outs, the Retrievers responded for two runs in the bottom half. Junior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) started the rally with a two-out walk and she moved to second on a wild pitch. Senior Chelsea Bertoglio (Laguna Hills, Calif./Laguna Hills/Saddleback College) then drove a single up the middle to bring around Hall and open the scoring. Bertoglio took second on a wild pitch and came around to score as a ball off the bat of Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) was misplayed by the UMass Lowell shortstop.
The River Hawks got their first runner on in the top of the second as Melissa King drew a walk with one out, but Holte worked around it with a fielder's choice and a strike out. The Retriever offense once again backed the rookie left-hander as Chance smashed her third homer of the season to right-center to start the inning. Sophomore Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Keough) later sent an RBI single back up the box to score Hartman, who had followed Chance with a single to center.
Holte continued to dominate in the third, keeping the visitors off the board. For the Retrievers, Jackson was issued a free pass the start the inning and then with two down, Hartman lashed her first career round-tripper to dead centerfield and push the UMBC lead to 6-0.
UMass Lowell finally got to Holte in the top of the fourth as Abby Jamieson ripped a double to left for the first River Hawk hit of the afternoon, and King slapped a single through the left side to cut the lead to 6-1. Two batters later, Ali Ferraro reached on an error and King scored for the second run of the inning.
That was all the River Hawks could manage off of the freshman southpaw who sent the side down in order in the fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, Alyssa Zinkiewicz singled to center, but Holte buckled down and struck out the side to complete the series sweep.
UMBC now steps out of conference for a home doubleheader with LaSalle on Tuesday before traveling to America East rival Hartford for a three-game series next weekend.
- The game today was the Retrievers' Strikeout Cancer Game as UMBC raised money for the American Cancer Society.
- This weekend's three games were the first-ever meetings between the two programs.
- UMBC last swept a conference rival when the Retrievers took three straight from Hartford on April 30-May 1, 2011. UMBC also swept Stony Brook that season.