BALTIMORE – UMBC softball travels to Hartford for a critical America East series, as the Retrievers continue to battle for a spot in the upcoming America East Championships. Due to rain, the series will now open with a single game at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 and conclude with a doubleheader on Sunday, April 27 starting at noon at Hartford Softball Field.
The Retrievers currently hold the fourth and final spot for the America East Championships with a 5-6 league record with two weeks to go in the conference schedule.
UMBC head coach Joe French sits at 599 career softball wins after the Retrievers (28-17) split a doubleheader with La Salle on Tuesday. Freshman pitcher Nicole Casagrand (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) tossed a four-hit shutout, while classmate Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) drove in three runs on a pair of doubles to guide the Retrievers to a 4-0 victory. Jackson is second on the Retrievers in doubles (10) and has 21 runs batted in on the season. She is hitting .294 on the season and .313 in conference play.
The Retrievers' offense leads the league in hits (329), runs scored (238), walks (140), doubles (58) and home runs (39). Junior catcher Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) pilots UMBC's efforts, ranking atop of the conference in slugging percentage (.733), on-base percentage (.491), hits (52), runs batted in (42) and home runs (11), in addition to being the seventh toughest player to strikeout in Division I (41.7). Sophomore utility player Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) leads the America East in runs scored (38) and walks (31), fifth on UMBC's single-season walks list.
In the circle, the Retrievers have combined for seven shutouts on the season and have a 2.88 earned run average. Freshman Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) ranks seventh on UMBC's single-season wins list with a 16-8 overall record. Her 91 strikeouts are the third-most for a freshman in program history. Classmate Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) owns the Retrievers' first-ever perfect game and has posted a 7-6 record on the season.
Hartford (7-25, 1-11 AEC) has lost seven straight heading into the weekend, including last weekend's three-game series at Binghamton. Senior first baseman Chelsey Mooney and junior outfielder Jenice Aloyo are both batting over .300 for the season. Mooney leads the squad with a .317 batting average and 11 extra-base hits, while also tying with sophomore catcher Sawyer Fried for a team-best 17 runs batted in. Fried has 23 hits and 10 walks to rank second on the team with a .367 on-base percentage.
The Hawks' pitching has struggled, posting an 8.24 earned runs average and allowing batters to hit at a .333 clip from the dish. Senior Zuzana Kudernatschova has tossed a team-high 75.1 innings of work and has struck out 58 batters.