WILMINGTON, N.C. – After not playing for two consecutive weekends, UMBC softball's bats went nuts, scoring 19 runs on 17 hits en route to the Retrievers sweeping a pair of contests in non-conference action in Savannah, Ga., at Allen Paulsen Sports Complex. UMBC coasted to a 12-2 victory in five innings against Morehead State in game one, and came back in dramatic fashion to defeat East Tennessee State, 7-5, on a walk-off home run from senior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby).
UMBC (2-8) freshman Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) batted .714 for the day, recording five hits and a pair of runs batted in. Hall and rookie Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) each homered on the day to drive in three runs apiece.
GAME 1: The Retrievers picked up their first win of the season, as their offense exploded for a season-best 12 runs in their first game action in two weeks. UMBC's bats started from the very beginning of the game, scoring four runs on three hits in the top of the first inning. A single from junior Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) singled to right field to drive in a run and sophomore Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) grounded out to score junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) to put the Retrievers' out in front, 2-0. A Morehead State (3-8) error helped the Retrievers to score two more runs in the frame.
All of the Retrievers' first eight runs came with two outs, as UMBC took an 8-0 lead after two innings and forced MSU starting pitcher Mackenzie Grossmann out of the game. The Retrievers added one more run, a solo home run from senior Katlin Olesky (Irvine, Calif./Saddleback College), the first of her career, in the top of the third inning before Morehead State was able to get on the board by stringing together three singles.
A MSU throwing error allowed senior Kathleen Sharp (Toms River, N.J./Brookdale CC) to reach base and a single to center from Jackson put two on base for Lesko's first-collegiate home run to give the Retrievers' the 12-2 lead.
UMBC's Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) picked up her first win of the season in the circle (1-4), allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out five batters. Grossman was credited with the loss (1-3), surrendering four earned runs in 1.2 innings of work.
Jackson drove in two runs on two hits in the game.
GAME 2: UMBC did not start out quite as quick in game two, allowing East Tennessee State to take a 2-0 advantage after two and a half innings of play. An error and wild pitch set up the RBI-single from Cassi Pickett in the top of the second inning and a double in the top of the third frame from Taylor Carter put the Bucs out in front.
The Retrievers knotted the score at two apiece in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman Emily Neal (Bear, Del./Caravel Academy) reached base on an error and Alexander advanced her on a single to left field. A sacrifice fly from Hall put both runners in scoring position and a passed ball got the Retrievers on the board. A second error in the inning allowed Alexander to score and tie up the contest.
East Tennessee State (6-6) was able to make some magic with two outs in the top of the seventh. A single from Kelsey Smith was followed by a homer from Carter. The Bucs followed with a single and double to take a 5-2 advantage heading into the Retrievers' final at bats.
Senior Mary Hartman (Eldersburg, Md./Southern) led off the inning with a double and a field error on Courtney Reinfeld's (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas) put runners on the corners. O'Neill drove one run in on a single through the left side and Alexander followed with a double to left field to bring the Retrievers within one, 5-4. Hall followed with the walk-off home run, her first blast of the season, to help UMBC complete the sweep.
UMBC freshman Kim Puccion (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) earned the start and went 6.2 innings, allowing four earned runs and striking out six batters, while senior Miranda Clark (Tampa, Fla./H.B. Plant) picked up the victory after coming in relief (1-0). Whitney Leon falls to 2-1 on the year after surrendering five earned runs.
RETRIEVERS' WEEKEND RESULTS:
Saturday, Feb. 28
UMBC vs. Morehead State: W, 12-2 (5)
UMBC vs. East Tennessee State: W, 7-5
Sunday, March 1
10 a.m. UMBC vs. Morehead State
12 p.m. UMBC vs. East Tennessee State