BALTIMORE – UMBC softball's senior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) and junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) combined for six hits in 10 at bats and two runs batted in to help the Retrievers split Wednesday's doubleheader against Lafayette. UMBC was edged out in game one, 1-0, but came back for the 4-2 victory in game two.
The Retrievers' (8-11) pitching staff had a great day in the circle, allowing one earned run in 14 innings and struck out 13 batters.
GAME 1: UMBC starting pitcher Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) limited the Leopards to five hits in the contest, but the Retrievers' error proved to be a costly one, helping to account for the game's only run. UMBC stranded eight runners on base in the contest, including seven that were in scoring position.
After back-to-back singles, UMBC helped out the Leopards by throwing the ball away on a sacrifice bunt, allowing Lafayette to take a 1-0 lead. Despite having runners on second and third with no outs, Puccio was able to get out of the inning without further damage.
The Retrievers put the first two runners of the seventh inning on base with singles, but a line out to the pitcher from freshman Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) was followed by an interference call on a double play that ended the game.
Lafayette (1-16) pitcher Lindsey Cherry threw the complete-game shutout to improve to 1-5 on the season, allowing seven hits and striking out two batters.
GAME 2: In a tough pitching matchup, it was errors that proved to be the biggest impact in game two. The two pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts and just three earned runs in the game.
UMBC continued to struggle to get the timely hits, stranding runners on second and third in the bottom of the first inning.
Another costly error for the Retrievers came in the top of the second inning, as a double from Allison Brown was followed by an errant throw to first base, allowing Brown to score and give the Leopards a 1-0 lead.
Lafayette returned the favor in the bottom of the third inning. UMBC led-off the frame with a pair of singles and a sacrifice bunt from O'Neill moved both runners into scoring position. Hall flied out to right to drive in freshman Emily Neal (Bear, Del./Caravel Academy) from third to knot the contest at one apiece. A grounder to short bounced off the glove of Jenna Didio and gave Alexander a chance to cross the plate to give the Retrievers a 2-1 lead.
The Retrievers capitalized on a lead-off double from Neal in the bottom of the fifth inning. A sacrifice bunt from Alexander moved Neal over to third and a single through the right side of the infield from Hall scored the rookie to extend UMBC's advantage to 3-1.
After a single from Kelly Lallis, a ground out put her into scoring position with one out in the top of the sixth inning for the Leopards and a single from Bryn Gornick cut the Lafayette deficit to one run, 3-2.
Another costly error for Lafayette came in the bottom of the sixth inning. Freshman Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) led off the frame with a single and an overthrow to first base on a hit back to the pitcher from junior Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) put Lesko at third. A sacrifice fly to right field from junior Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Md./South River) gave the Retrievers an insurance run.
Holte (4-5) retired three straight batters in the seventh to earn her fourth victory of the year. She threw the complete game victory, surrendering one earned run and striking out seven batters. Lafayette's Stephanie Thomas allowed two earned runs on seven hits and fanned five batters.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC opens America East action on Saturday, March 21 with a doubleheader against Maine. First pitch for Saturday is set for 1 p.m. at the UMBC Softball Stadium. The Retrievers close out the three-game series on Sunday at noon.