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UMBC SOFTBALL SPLITS DOUBLEHEADER WITH LASALLE
Michelle Olivieri hit a gand slam in the second game of the doubleheader for her first career home run.
Camden, N.J.-The UMBC softball team split a doubleheader with LaSalle Tuesday afternoon, dropping the first game, 3-2, in eight innings, before winning the second game, 10-1, in five frames. The Retrievers’ record now stands at 16-5, as they have won 15 of their last 17 games and are off to one of the best starts in program history.
Retriever batters managed only two hits off LaSalle starter Laura DeZolt in the first game, and were retired in order in five of the eight innings. DeZolt earned the victory with a complete game, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Freshman Krista Kearns (
The Retrievers struck first in the top of the third. Second baseman Ashlea Underwood (Visalia, Calif./Central Valley Christian/Reedley JC) walked to lead off the inning, stole second with two outs and moved to third on a single by sophomore center fielder Kali Shirk (North Wales, Pa./North Penn). Shirk then stole second, and Underwood broke for home, scoring on the successful double steal to give UMBC a 1-0 lead. A batter later, sophomore shortstop Dana Shepherd (
The Explorers got one back in the bottom of the inning on a single by left fielder Kate Gulkis and a one-out triple by shortstop Danielle Signorelli. LaSalle tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when Signorelli doubled and scored as DeZolt reached on an error.
The score remained tied at 2-2 through the seventh, and the game went into extra innings. The Retrievers threatened in the top of the eighth with runners at first and third, as Shirk walked with two outs and pinch hitter Amy Sadowl (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro Horsham) singled, but first baseman Melanie Denischuk (Poway, Calif./Hugh Sutherland (Carstairs, Alberta)/Indian River CC/Auburn) grounded out to end the inning.
DeZolt led off the bottom of the inning with a single and moved to second on a one-out sacrifice bunt by right fielder Megan Berry, then scored the winning run when first baseman
The Retrievers had much better success with the bats in the second game of the twin bill. Shirk led off the game with a single and stole both second and third before scoring on an error by catcher Michelle Sullivan to give UMBC an early 1-0 lead.
After a quiet 1-2-3 second inning, freshman center fielder Courtney O’Hara (Pasadena, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) hit a one-out inside-the-park home run in the third, the first homer of her career. She became the 10th different Retriever to hit a home run this season, breaking the school record set in 2003.
After three consecutive two-out singles by designated player Heather Bennett (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron), catcher Jessica Griffith (Linthicum, Md./Glen Burnie/Anne Arundel CC) and Underwood loaded the bases in the top of the fourth, freshman left fielder Michelle Olivieri (Brockport, N.Y./The Aquinas Institute) became the 11th Retriever with a home run in 2006, smashing a grand slam for her first career roundtripper and a 6-0 UMBC lead.
LaSalle got one back in the bottom of the inning on a one-out solo shot by Sullivan, the only hit the Explorers managed off UMBC starter Lauren Nicholson (Audubon, N.J./Paul VI).
The Retrievers got five consecutive hits to lead off the top of the fifth inning and scored four more runs. Shirk singled and sophomore right fielder
The Explorers managed a base runner in the bottom of the fifth when Street walked with one out, but Gulkis grounded into a fielder’s choice and designated player Lea Corcoran struck out to end the game in five innings due to the eight-run rule.
Nicholson improved to 6-0 on the season with her UMBC-record 44th career victory. She allowed one run on one hit and two walks while striking out three in five innings for the complete game.
Shirk was 3-for-6 with three runs scored and three stolen bases in the two games, including 2-for-3 with two runs and two steals in the second contest. She now has a career-high 23 steals on the season, the sixth-best single-season total in UMBC history. She is also a perfect 40-for-40 on the base paths in her career, a school record for most consecutive successful stolen bases and tied for sixth all-time for career steals.
Bennett was the only other Retriever with multiple hits in the game, as she was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Every UMBC starter had at least one hit, and each starter scored at least one run except Denischuk, who was pinch run for by sophomore Carla O’Rourke (Endicott, N.Y./Union Endicott) after singling in the fifth. O’Rourke scored on Ward’s home run.
Denischuk and Ward each had two RBI, while Olivieri drove in a career-high four runs in the game.
Ward’s homer in the fifth inning was her fifth of the season and the 21st of her career, leaving her just one behind Taryn McDonald for second place all-time at UMBC.
The Retrievers return to action this weekend, as they head to