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SOFTBALL SWEEPS DOUBLEHEADER AGAINST HOWARD
Melanie Denischuk drove in three runs in the Retrievers' 4-3 win in the first game of the doubleheader and was 4-for-6 on the day.
The Retrievers scored four runs in the first two innings, but Howard starter Dale McNeal shut them down after that, allowing just five baserunners over the final four innings.
The Retrievers struck for three in the bottom of the second on three hits and an error. Pitcher Krista Kearns (
After breezing through the first four innings with little trouble, Kearns hit a speed bump in the fifth, allowing two runs on just one hit, as she walked two and hit a batter without recording an out, but with runners on first and second, she retired the final three hitters of the inning on two strikeouts and a groundout to hold the score at 4-2.
O’Hara continued her torrid streak at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a double and a triple. Denischuk went 3-for-3 with three RBI. The Retriever defense also turned two double plays.
Howard struck first in game two, scoring in the top of the second on two singles and a suicide squeeze by Candice Tatum.
But the Retrievers answered back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring twice as designated player Jessica Griffith (
The Bison got those runs back in the third, as a two hits and an error led to two unearned runs and a 3-2 lead, which is how the score stayed until the bottom of the fourth, when the Retrievers tied the game on singles by Shore and O’Hara.
UMBC took the lead at 4-3 in the next inning, as Shepherd walked with one out, stole second and scored on second baseman Ashlea Underwood’s (Visalia, Calif./Central Valley Christian/Reedley JC) two-out RBI single, but Howard came right back to tie it again in the top of the sixth.
The Retrievers finally broke through for three runs in the bottom of the sixth, as Shirk singled to left with one out, stole second and scored on Ward’s infield single. Shepherd then singled to drive in two runs for the 7-4 lead.
The Bison threatened in the top of the seventh, as Rischelle Charles hit a lead-off single and scored on a two-out single by Kristina Cordova. But UMBC starter Lauren Nicholson (Audubon, N.J./Paul VI) forced Tatum to ground out to end the game.
Nicholson (10-1) went the distance for the win, allowing five runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks while striking out two in seven innings. McNeal suffered the loss after allowing six runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out two in 5.2 innings. She left the game with two outs in the sixth after being struck on her pitching hand by a comebacker off the bat of Denischuk. Jillian Johnson finished the game for Howard, allowing one run on two hits in one-third of an inning.
O’Hara went 2-for-3 with two RBI at the plate, while Ward was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI and Shore was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Shepherd went 1-for-3 with a run and two RBI.
In the two games of the doubleheader, O’Hara hit .714 (5-for-7) with a double, a triple, two runs and two RBI, while Denischuk hit .667 (4-for-6) with three RBI.
Tuesday’s games complete the season sweep of Howard, as UMBC defeated the Bison twice during the UMBC Dawg Pound Tournament March 10-12.
The Retrievers return to action Thursday, March 30, hosting Brown in a doubleheader beginning at 1:30 p.m. at UMBC Softball Stadium. The teams faced each other this past weekend in the UMBC Spring Classic, each coming out with one win.