BALTIMORE – UMBC softball's freshman Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) launched the first two home runs of her career en route to an eight-RBI day to help the Retrievers sweep Friday's America East doubleheader against UMass Lowell at River View Field. The Retrievers defeated the River Hawks, 13-3, in game one and followed with a 5-1 win in game two. The series finale game time has been pushed back to noon on Saturday.
The Retrievers remain unbeaten in league play (5-0) and improve to 15-12 on the season, while UMass Lowell falls to 10-16 overall and 0-2 in conference.
GAME 1: UMBC received plenty of production from a pair of its offensive leaders in Alexander and senior Taylor Hall (Cosby,Va./Cosby). The duo combined for four hits and seven RBI in the contest.
UMBC's bats were strong from the start, as Hall put the Retrievers out in front, 1-0, in the top of the first inning with her fourth home run of the season, this one to left-center field.
The Retrievers opened the third frame with back-to-back singles from freshman Emily Neal (Bear, Del./Caravel Academy) and Alexander. A sacrifice bunt from junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) put runners on second and third. Hall drove in her second run of the day on a sacrifice fly and sophomore Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) followed with an RBI-single to center to put UMBC on top, 3-0.
A fourth-inning lead-off walk and stolen base from junior Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) put a runner in scoring position for senior Katlin Olesky (Irvine, Calif./Saddleback College). A single from Olesky scored O'Malley and a double from Neal put runners on second and third. Alexander cleared the bases with a single to left to extend UMBC's lead to 6-0 and cue the end of the day for UML starting pitcher Marielle Handley.
UMass Lowell took advantage of a throwing error in the bottom of the fourth to plate their first run of the contest, but UMBC responded with two more in the top of the fifth on a two-run single up the middle from freshman Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./Milford).
A fielder's choice helped sophomore Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) to pick up her first of two RBI in the game in the top of the sixth, giving the Retrievers an eight-run advantage, 9-1. The River Hawks put a stop to the eight-run rule in the bottom of the sixth, scoring two runs on three hits and an error to stay alive.
The Retrievers exploded for four more runs in the top of the seventh inning, with Alexander and Hall combining for three RBI in the frame. Alexander finished three-for-five from the dish with four RBI and two runs scored.
UMBC sophomore Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) did not allow an earned run in the seven innings and won her seventh game in as many starts to improve to 8-5 on the season. Handley fell to 4-7 on the season after allowing six runs on seven hits. Lauren Ramirez allowed six earned runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings of relief.
GAME 2: Alexander continued where she left off in game one, launching her first collegiate home run in the top of the first inning.
Lane doubled to start the fourth inning and an error on O'Malley's at bat helped to add to the Retrievers' lead. Alexander continued her tear in the frame, drilling her second home run of the game, this time a three-run shot to left field to put UMBC out in front, 5-0.
A single and stolen base put a runner in scoring position for Vanessa Cooper, who singled through the right side of the infield to get the River Hawks on the board in the bottom of the sixth and put an end to freshman Kim Puccio's (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) shutout. The rookie (3-3) allowed one run on eight hits and struck out a season-best 10 batters. UML's Erica Armenti surrendered one earned run on 11 hits to fall to 3-9 on the year.
Hall finished the game three-for-four from the plate, while Neal recorded two hits in her two at bats.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC concludes the series against UMass Lowell at noon on Saturday, April 4. UMBC continues America East action with a three-game series at Albany on Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12.