Charleston, S.C. – Sophomore third baseman Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa/Franklin Regional) collected two hits, including a solo homer, but it wasn't enough as the UMBC Softball team dropped a pair of games on opening day at the Charleston Southern Tournament on Friday.
The Retrievers held a three-run lead later but couldn't hold it as Southern Illinois rallied for a 4-3 victory in the first game. Game two was tougher as Charleston Southern blanked UMBC, 8-0, in a five-inning game that ended due to the run rule.
The Retrievers (0-2) started the season with a bang in the first game, as they loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first against Southern Illinois (1-1). Freshman Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./ New Milford) then walked with the bases loaded for an RBI in her first career plate appearance.
That was the only run UMBC could only manage one run in the inning. The Retrievers threatened again in the second inning, loading the bases with one out, but they could not push across a run. Jackson would lead off the third with a solo homer to left field to extend the advantage to 2-0
Jackson scored again in the fifth, coming in on a wild pitch to give UMBC a 3-0 lead.
But the Salukis then rallied, tying the game with three runs in the sixth and winning it on a walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
The Retrievers out-hit Southern Illinois, 8-7, but they would leave 10 on base and committed three errors. Sophomore Jessica Holte went the distance but took the loss despite striking out six and walking only one.
Holte allowed seven hits and only two earned runs. Shaye Harre pitched 5 2/3 innings of relief for the Salukis to earn the victory.
Unlike game one, UMBC struggled to get anything going in game two against Charleston Southern (1-0). The hosts jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first before tacking on five more in the second.
The score stayed at 6-0 until the bottom of the fifth when the Buccaneers would get a two-out two-run double to end the game due to run rule (8-0).
UMBC managed only one hit, which came off the bat of freshman first baseman Toni Santonastasso (Galena, Ohio/Pope John XXIII Regional), and a single walk by junior shortstop Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough).
Sophomore Kelly Lane started but lasted only 1 1/3 innings and took the loss, allowing five earned runs on four hits and three walks. Cheyenne Gandara of Charleston Southern pitched five innings of shutout ball to earn the victory, while teammate Stephanie Bergmann drove in four runs.
UMBC returns to action tomorrow, when they face Ohio State at 9 a.m. and then meet Charleston Southern again at 1 p.m.