Softball's Offense Awakens in Seahawk Clash Rematches

Bridget O'Malley had a 3-for-3 day and added two stolen bases
Bridget O'Malley had a 3-for-3 day and added two stolen bases

WILMINGTON, N.C. – After tallying four hits in day one of the Seahawk Clash, UMBC softball exploded for 22 hits in day two, including 12 hits in a 7-4 victory against Morehead State in game one. The Retrievers were unable to sweep the day, falling 14-4 in five innings to host UNC-Wilmington at Boseman Field. Freshman Bridget O'Malley (Brookly, Md./Seton Keough) had a perfect 3-for-3 day and added three runs scored, two walks and two stolen bases, while sophomore Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) batted .500 (3-6) and drove in a team-best four runners.

The Retrievers (1-8) took the 1-0 advantage in their first at bats of the day, with freshman Danielle O'Neill (Loathian, Md./Southern) leading off with a single to left field. O'Malley laid down the sacrifice bunt to advance O'Neill to second and starting pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio (Laguna Hills, Calif./Laguna Hills/Saddleback College) added a single to right field to put runners at the corners for UMBC. Hall was able to get the sacrifice fly into center field for her team-leading 11th RBI of the season.

Morehead State evened the score at one in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kayla Ashbrook led off the fourth with a single to right and stole second to get into scoring position. A pair of sacrifice flies from Amber Riddle and Elizabeth Wagner scored Ashbrook to tie the game for the Eagles.

Hall broke the tie in the top of the sixth with her second round-tripper of the season, putting UMBC on top 2-1, but MSU responded immediately, with Ashbrook homering to start off the bottom of the sixth to even up the score at two. Bertoglio walked a pair of batters to put runners on first and second with two outs. Tressa Watson came through with the pinch hit single, scoring pinch runner Dana Hutchins from third to take the Eagles first lead of the afternoon, 3-2.  

UMBC exploded for a five-run and six hit seventh, stringing together three-straight singles to start off the inning. Junior Megan Sauble (Glen Burnie, Md./Glen Burnie/CCBS-Catonsville) opened with a shot to right, followed by a single up the middle from O'Neill, forcing MSU to a pitching change, but O'Malley responded by beating out a bunt off of reliever Katie Pfost to load the bases. Bertoglio drew a walk to score the tying run and Hall followed with her third RBI of the contest on a single to left field. Kayla Margentino (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) and Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Md./South River) each added hits in the inning to put the Retrievers on top, 7-3.   

Bertoglio (1-2) allowed the Eagles to get back one in bottom half of the inning, but help on to pick up her first victory as a Retriever, allowing four runs on seven hits in a complete game of work. Kelcey McMurray earned the start in the circle for MSU, but was given the no-decision after exiting with the contest tied at one. Greta Smeins (0-2) was credited with the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in two innings of work. Pfost, who faced eight batters, surrendered the same as Smeins.

In game two, UMBC seemed to have picked up where it had left off against Morehead State, with O'Malley starting off with a single to third base and stealing second to move into scoring position. Hall reached base on an error and scoring O'Malley from second and putting the Retrievers on top 1-0 in the top of the first.

The black and gold tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth, courtesy of a two-run home run from senior Ashley Scroggin (Stafford, Va./North Stafford), scoring junior Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) who reached on a single to center.

The Seahawks exploded for 14 runs in two innings, scoring four in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 4-3 advantage. UMBC knotted up the contest at four in the top of the fourth, with O'Malley scoring on a single from Hall, but UNCW took advantage of three UMBC errors in the fifth and went on for the 10-run victory. Casey Rowland picked up four RBI on two hits, including a three-run homer.   

Jordyn Schmidt (3-1) tossed all five innings for the Seahawks, allowing three earned runs and striking out three. Sophomore Miranda Clark (Tampa, Fla./H.B. Plant) moves to 0-2 on the season, surrendering four earned runs on two hits and five walks.

The Retrievers return to Maryland for their home-opener on Wednesday, Feb. 27 against Towson. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at the UMBC Softball Stadium.