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Softball Opens Conference Action Versus Maine
BALTIMORE – UMBC softball looks for a fresh start as it welcomes Maine for its America East opening series this weekend. The Retrievers host the Black Bears in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 23, with first pitch set for 1 p.m. at the UMBC Stadium, and they close the series with a single game on Sunday, March 24 at 11 a.m.
The black and gold (6-19) dropped three of four at the UMBC Spring Classic over the weekend and followed with a 5-3 loss to George Mason on Wednesday. The Retrievers notched nine hits in the contest against the Patriots, but were plagued by six errors, allowing George Mason to score four unearned runs. Sophomore designated player Kayla Margentino (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) led the way offensively for UMBC, batting .667 (2-for-3), with one run scored and one run batted in.
Entering into the weekend, the Retrievers lead the conference in batting average, hitting .284 as a team, led by sophomore Taylor Hall’s (Cosby, Va./Cosby) .386 – second in the league. The catcher has a team-best five home runs and 32 RBI – 14 more RBI than any other player in the America East and ranking 14th in Division I in RBI per game (1.33). Freshman Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Keough) is sixth in the country in walks and is two shy of entering into UMBC’s single season top-10 in walks, averaging one per game on the season. The center fielder has a team-best .494 on-base percentage and also ranks atop of the squad in stolen bases and runs scored.
In the circle, Heather Brown (Pasadena, Md./Northeast) has posted a 2.58 ERA and is holding opponents to a .297 batting average in 54.1 innings pitched. The senior has fanned a team-high 29 batters. Freshman pitcher Rachel Ionata (Tampa, Fla./Palm Harbor University) has seen considerable action in the early going of her rookie season, tossing 48 innings in 13 appearances.
Maine (3-25) has yet to play a home game in 2013 and opens America East action after trips to South Carolina and Florida. The Black Bears dropped three straight contests to end the City of Clearwater Spring Invitational.
Sophomore infielder Jessica Burk is batting a team-best .264 on the season, with 23 hits and 12 runs scored. Junior infielder Jean Stevens has a .506 slugging percentage and ranks first on the team in home runs (six) and RBI (18).
In the circle, Hannah Hill has registered a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances, with opponents’ batting .281 against her. Beth Spoehr is responsible for two of the team’s three victories and has seen action in 39.2 innings.