BALTIMORE – UMBC softball split in a pair of doubleheaders against Mount St. Mary's on Tuesday afternoon at UMBC Softball Stadium. The Retrievers defeated the Mount, 4-2, in game one, but Mount St. Mary's came back with a 3-1 victory in game two.
UMBC's freshman outfielder Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbrige Senior) was named the America East Rookie of the Week, her second honor of the season, by the league office on Tuesday. The freshman hit a team-best .500 in a perfect 4-0 weekend for the Retrievers. Alexander registered six hits on 12 at bats and chipped in two walks, two stolen bases and five runs scored.
UMBC junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) posted an .833 on-base percentage on the day, recording two hits on three at bats and adding in three walks, while sophomore Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) registered two hits and drove in two of the team's five runs on the day.
GAME 1: The Retrievers jumped out in front 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning. O'Neill led off the frame with a single and a sacrifice bunt from freshman Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) moved her into scoring position. A single through the right side of the infield from Lane scored O'Neill from second and put UMBC on top early.
A lead-off double helped the Mount take a 2-1 advantage in the top of the third inning. The Retrievers helped out Mount St. Mary's, throwing away the ball on a sacrifice bunt, allowing Maria Santiago to come around and score. Another sacrifice bunt and a single to right field scored Santiago to give the Mountaineers the lead.
Lane registered her second RBI of the day, this one coming with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning to score O'Neill from second base to knot the contest at two apiece.
The Retrievers led-off the bottom of the sixth with a pair of singles. Back-to-back infield grounders allowed the lead-off batter, Emily Neal (Bear, Del./Caravel Academy), to score and break the tie. The Mount helped UMBC to add an insurance run, as a walk and hit batter loaded the bases and a Mount St. Mary's fielding error allowed the Retrievers to take a 4-2 lead.
UMBC starting pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) improved to 3-5 on the season, allowing no earned runs on seven hits in the complete game victory. Mount St. Mary's Marian Ruf falls to 1-7 on the year after surrendering three earned runs on seven hits.
GAME 2: The Retrievers threatened in the bottom of the first inning, loading the bases with two outs, but the Mount's starting pitcher Sam Lichtner, got Toni Santonastasso (Galena, Ohio/Pope John XXIII Regional) to fly out to end the inning without damage.
A single from junior Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Md./South River) started off the Retrievers in the bottom of the second inning. A ground out moved Sganga to second and a single through the left side of the infield from Alexander scored Sganga to put the Retrievers out in front, 1-0.
Mount St. Mary's took advantage of a lead-off double from Megan Baker, moving her to third on a ground out and scoring her on a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the contest at one apiece.
The Mount struck again in the top of the sixth inning, this time making noise with two outs. Baker started things off with a single through the left side of the infield and Morgan Alisauckas finished with a two-run shot over the left field fence to put her team out in front, 3-1.
UMBC pitcher Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) tossed a scoreless top of the seventh inning, but Lichtner retired three straight batters in the bottom of the frame to hang on for the victory. Puccio falls to 0-2 on the year, surrendering three runs on six hits, while Lichtner improves to 1-3, allowing one run on four hits.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC continues to get ready for America East action with a home doubleheader against Lafayette on Wednesday, March 18.