BALTIMORE – UMBC softball batted .415 in Wednesday's doubleheader against UMES en route to scoring 15 runs as the Retrievers defeated the Hawks in a pair of contests in non-conference action at the UMBC Softball Stadium.
The Retrievers edged UMES, 2-0, in a pitcher's battle in game one. In game two, UMBC's bats exploded for 17 hits and a season-high 13 runs for a 13-5 five-inning victory.
"We won two different ways today," said head coach Joe French. "One in a pitcher's duel, which Jess and the defense were outstanding in. Secondly, our offense came right out of the gate attacking in game two and everyone got a chance to perform, and we kept tacking on runs. Today was a great team day rolling into our conference weekend."
Junior Bridge O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) batted a team-best .667 and was one of three Retrievers to drive in three runs on the day. Senior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) belted her second home run of the season, a three-run shot in game two to move into seventh on UMBC's all-time RBI list (125), while freshman Toni Santonastasso (Galena, Ohio/Pope John XXIII Regional) recorded three doubles on the day and picked up three RBI.
GAME 1: UMBC (10-11) starting pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) and UMES (3-17) starter Adrienne Guerra made game one a pitching duel, combining to allow two hits through three innings of play.
The Retrievers threatened in the fourth putting their first two batters on base with a walk from Hall and a single to right field from sophomore Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional). Guerra was able to retire back-to-back batters, but with two strikes on her, sophomore Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) was able to drive in the first run of the game on a single to right field.
O'Malley helped UMBC to add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning, driving Jackson home from second on a two-out single up the middle.
Holte earned her first shutout victory of the season to improve to 5-5 on the season. The second-year pitcher struck out six batters and surrendered just three hits on the day. Guerra (2-8) allowed two runs on five hits and fanned five batters.
GAME 2: The Retrievers jumped on the Hawks early in game two, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning to cue the exit of UMES' starting pitcher Kaitlyn Hitch (1-5). A single and error put runners on first and second. A double from Santonastasso started things off for UMBC, scoring a pair of runs to put the Retrievers' out in front, 2-0. O'Malley capitalized on having a runner in scoring position with an RBI-double and junior Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Md./South River) followed with an RBI-single to left to put the Retrievers on top, 4-0.
UMBC's bats produced five more hits in the bottom of the second inning, including a three-run home run from Hall, to open up an eight-run lead. This time the Hawks had an answer, leading off the top of the third inning with a pair of singles. Despite UMBC starting pitcher Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) striking out the next two batters, a two-run double from Alexis Hudson got UMES on the board and a two-run home run cut the Hawks' deficit in half.
The Retrievers were able to tack on three more runs in the bottom of the third behind a two-run single from senior Courtney Reinfeld (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas) and a two-out RBI-double from Santonastasso, her third double of the game, to extend UMBC's advantage to 11-4.
A triple and wild pitch helped Vanessa Gomez score for the Hawks in the top of the fifth inning to pull within six, 11-5, but the Retrievers responded with a pinch hit RBI-single from senior Kathleen Sharp (Toms River, N.J./Toms River) in the bottom of the frame. Red-shirt freshman Erin Trnka (Goffstown, N.H./Goffstown) ended the contest with an RBI-ground out with the bases loaded.
Puccio (1-3) allowed four earned runs on five hits en route to her first collegiate victory. The rookie finished with a season-best seven strikeouts. Sophomore Nicole Casagrand (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) allowed one earned run on one hit in one inning of work. Abria Tinsley surrendered nine earned runs on 13 hits in the loss.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC opens America East action with a three-game series against Hartford, starting with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 28 at the UMBC Softball Stadium. The series concludes with a single game on Sunday, March 29.