NORFOLK, Va. – UMBC softball extended its win streak to five games following an 8-5 victory against Delaware in its first game of the Spartan Classic, but the Retrievers were unable to complete a come-back victory against host Norfolk State in game two, falling, 3-2, at NSU Softball Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Retrievers (7-3) jumped out to a five-run lead in the bottom of the second inning of game one against Delaware. With runners on second and third, junior Katlin Olesky (Irvine, Calif./Northwood/Saddleback College) and sophomore Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) used back-to-back fielder's choices to drive in a pair of runs. Sophomore Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Keough) kept the inning alive, driving in a run on a two-out triple to right center field, followed by a two-run home run from junior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby).
A trio of singles in the top of the fourth inning scored one run for Delaware (2-9), but the Retrievers were quick to respond with three runs in the bottom of the frame, starting with a home run from senior Megan Sauble (Glen Burnie, Md./CCBC), her first in a Retrievers' uniform. A pair of errors helped UMBC to score three runs on three hits in the inning en route to taking an 8-1 advantage.
Freshman pitcher Jessica Holte (Asland, Va./Atlee) was able to down the first two batters of the fifth inning, but a single by Gabby Klecko followed by a home run from Jessica Grisler started a four-run frame for Delaware, dwindling the deficit to three, 8-5. Holte and the Retrievers were able to hang on for the victory, holding the Blue Hens to three hits in the final two innings.
Holte surrendered five earned runs on 11 hits and struck out four batters to remain undefeated in her rookie campaign (5-0). Senior Chelsea Bertoglio (Laguna Hills, Calif./Laguna Hills/Saddleback College) finished the contest 2-for-3 from the dish and was one of six Retrievers to tally an RBI in the contest. Delaware's starting pitcher Carolyn Syzmanski (2-6) was credited with the loss, allowing five earned runs in 1.2 innings, while reliever Kiersten Coffman surrendered one earned run in 4.1 innings of work.
In game two, Norfolk State (2-6) was able to take the 2-0 lead in the second with a one-out home run into center field from Liz Riley. The Spartans further added to their advantage in the fifth, taking advantage of Devon Bitler reaching on a throwing error when Alina Moriarty sent an RBI double into right field to extend the lead to 3-0.
UMBC strung together a pair of doubles and added in a sacrifice fly to right field from senior Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) to get one run back in the sixth. With UMBC starting pitcher Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) settling in and only tossing to seven batters in the final two innings, the Retrievers were able to pull within one in the final frame. UMBC opened the seventh with a pair of singles to bring up the top of the order. O'Neill's fielder's choice put runners on first and second with one out and O'Malley's second single of the contest made it a one-run ballgame, 3-2. Hall had a chance to tie the game with runners on first and second, but the Retrievers' come-back was stopped short as the game ended on a double play.
Lane (1-2) allowed two earned runs and struck out seven in the complete game, while Jamie Schulle (2-3) earned the complete game victory. The Retrievers tallied 10 hits in the contest, but left seven on base.
Bertoglio batted. 500 on the day, while O'Malley and Hall each drove in a pair of runs on the afternoon.
The Retrievers continue action at the Spartan Classic with a pair of games on Sunday, March 2. UMBC opens the day at 11 a.m. against Monmouth and follow with a rematch of the Feb. 16 meeting between UMBC and Norfolk State at 2 p.m.