ELON, N.C. – UMBC softball picked up a pair of victories in day one of the Phoenix Opening Tournament at Hunt Softball Park. The Retrievers held off Niagara in a 3-1 victory in the day's second game and followed with a rigorous 13-9 victory in eight innings against Iona in the nightcap.
The Retrievers (4-2) posted a one-run advantage in the bottom of the first inning, following senior Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) reaching on an error and junior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) driving her home on a double into left center field.
UMBC held the lead until the top of the sixth inning when Niagara tied the contest at one with a double down the right field line to score Brittany Richberg, who singled to lead off the inning. However, the Retrievers had the response in the bottom of the sixth inning, starting with a wild pitch from Kim Bryson and adding insurance with a sacrifice fly from freshman Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) to score classmate Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional).
Freshman pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) earned her third complete game victory of the season. Holte allowed her first walk of the season, but surrendered one earned run in the outing, while Bryson (0-1) lost her season-opening performance, despite all three runs being unearned.
The Retrievers exploded for four runs in the opening inning behind a trio of doubles from UMBC. Senior Chelsea Bertoglio (Laguna Hilla, Calif./Laguna Hills/Saddleback College), Chance and Lane each registered and RBI double in the inning.
The Gaels (0-1) responded with five in the bottom of the second inning, including a leadoff home run into left center from sophomore Christine Costello. A second home run in the inning, this one from freshman Kristen Turner, scored three more runs, concluding the frame with a 5-4 Iona advantage.
Despite Iona adding a run apiece in the bottom of the third and the fourth, the Retrievers trimmed its deficit to one, 7-6, in the top of the sixth inning behind a costly error from the Gaels. Iona was able to add another in the bottom half of the inning, but UMBC forced extra innings with two runs batted in from sophomore Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Keough) in the top of the seventh and five runs in the top of the eighth.
Freshman Nicole Casagrand (1-1) earned her first victory of her collegiate career, allowing one earned run in relief of starter Lane. Iona starter junior Carly Argyle (0-1) threw 7.1 innings, allowing seven runs, walking 11 and striking out seven.
The Retrievers continue play at the Phoenix Opening Tournament with a doubleheader starting at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22.