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UMBC SOFTBALL SPLITS TWO GAMES ON FIRST DAY OF SEAHAWK CLASSIC
Kali Shirk stole four bases on the day to give her 21 straight to start her career.
Lauren Nicholson moved into sole possession of first place for wins in UMBC history with her 39th career victory.
Wilmington, N.C.-The UMBC softball team opened its season Friday by splitting two games on the first day of the UNC-Wilmington Seahawk Classic. The Retrievers dropped their first game, 4-1, to the host Seahawks, before ripping
The Retrievers scored their first run of the season right out of the gates as leadoff hitter Kali Shirk walked, stole two bases and scored on a single by Melanie Denischuk in her first plate appearance in the black and gold. But UMBC would leave two runners on, a common theme in the game.
The Seahawks took the lead in the bottom of the first inning, plating three unearned runs. UNCW added a fourth run in the fourth inning on a seeing-eye single to go ahead 4-1 for the eventual victory. The Retrievers were 2-for-10 with runners on base, leaving eight runners on, and were held to just four hits in the game.
Shirk picked up where she left off after being named to the America East All-Rookie Team and All-Conference Second Team in 2005, going 2-for-2 with two walks and three stolen bases.
Senior Amy Sadowl started the game for the Retrievers, pitching five innings and giving up four runs, but just one earned, on six hits, walking none and striking out four but suffered the loss. Junior Jessica Taylor pitched the final inning and gave up one hit.
The Retrievers again jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the second game, as Shirk led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a dropped third strike. The steal gives her four on the season already, and she is now 21-for-21 in stolen base attempts to start her career after 17 consecutive as a freshman.
The Retrievers, however, exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth. Licursi led off the inning with a walk before junior Heather Bennett smashed a 240-foot two-run home run to straightaway center field to give UMBC a 5-2 lead.
Senior Ashlea Underwood then singled and O’Rourke walked before sophomore Dana Shepherd hit a one-out RBI single to plate Underwood. Shepherd stole second and freshman Courtney O’Hara drove in her first run on a single that plated O’Rourke. Shepherd was thrown out at the plate trying to score on O’Hara’s base hit, but Denischuk followed with a 230-foot two-run home run to right-center field to give the Retrievers a 9-3 advantage.
Starting pitcher Lauren Nicholson got the first out in the fifth before allowing two base runners and was lifted for freshman Krista Kearns, who allowed one inherited runner to score but struck out the final batter to escape.
In the bottom of the fifth, with UMBC already up 9-4, the Retrievers would score three more times toe end the game by virtue of the eight-run mercy rule. Freshman Michelle Olivieri reached on an error to start the inning and Bennett walked. Underwood was then credited with a sacrifice bunt, but everyone was safe on a throwing error as Olivieri scored. O’Rourke suicide squeezed in the second run of the inning, plating Bennett and sending Underwood to third, and Shepherd hit a walk-off RBI single to right field.
Shepherd was 2-for-4 with two RBI in the game, while Denischuk, Bennett and O’Rourke also had two RBI.
Nicholson picked up the win after throwing 4.1 innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on seven hits and two walks and striking out three. The victory gives her 39 in her career and breaks a tie with Sadowl and Crystal Ray for most wins all-time in UMBC history.
The Retrievers return to action Saturday as they take on