ALBANY, N.Y. – UMBC softball dropped the first two games of its conference slate to Albany on Sunday, falling in a tough 11-6 battle in game one and suffering a 1-0 setback in the rubber match at Albany Field. Senior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) drove in a pair of runs on the day with a double, moving her into a tie for fourth on UMBC's all-time RBI list (137) and sixth on the Retrievers' all-time doubles list (42).
Albany takes the series to improve to 16-9 on the season and 4-2 in league play, while the Retrievers drop to 17-14 overall and 7-2 in conference action.
GAME 1: Albany took the early lead in game two, but was not able to coast to victory after a six-run fourth for the Retrievers. UMBC took their first lead of the day in fourth, but a five-run sixth proved to be the difference for the Great Danes.
The Retrievers loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first inning, but Albany starter Devin Durando was able to get out of the frame without damage.
Back-to-back homers from Elizabeth Snow and Kelly Costello to start the bottom of the second inning put Albany out in front, 2-0.
The Great Danes added two more runs in the bottom of the third to cue the exit of UMBC starter Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta), following a lead-off double, a single and another double. A single through the right side of the infield from Marlin Solano drove home Maggie Cocks before UMBC reliever Nicole Casagrand (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) was able to get the Retrievers out of the frame.
A walk and two singles loaded the bases for the Retrievers in the top of the fourth. A fielding error on freshman Tori Alexander's (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) at bat allowed UMBC to get on the board and keep the bases loaded. Junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) was hit by a pitch to plate the Retrievers' second run of the inning. Hall doubled to right to drive in a pair of runs and bring the Retrievers within one, 5-4. Another walk loaded the bases again for the Retrievers and ended the day for Durando in the circle.
Sophomore Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) tied up the contest at five apiece, hitting a sacrifice fly to right field off of reliever Mackenzie Thompson. Following the third walk of the inning, Hall was able to score on a wild pitch to put the Retrievers on top, 6-5, but the Great Danes combined a pair of doubles in the bottom of the fifth inning to once again tie the contest.
A single and two walks loaded the bases for Albany in the bottom of the sixth inning. Casagrand struggled with control in the frame, walking two more batters to give the Great Danes a two-run advantage, 8-6. A double from Solano cleared the bases to extend the lead to 11-6 and ended Casagrand's day in the circle. The Retrievers saw just two base runners in the final three innings en route to their first loss of the conference schedule.
Puccio was responsible for five runs on six hits in 2.0 innings of work, while Casagrand (1-3) surrendered six runs on six hits in 3.2 innings for the loss. Senior Miranda Clark (Tampa, Fla./H.B. Plant) tossed the final out of the sixth for the Retrievers. Durando allowed one earned run on three hits in 3.1 innings of work, while Thompson picked up the win in 3.2 scoreless innings of work.
GAME 2: The Great Danes wasted little time getting on the board in the bottom of the first inning of game two. Vicky McFarland led off with a triple down the right field line and Alexa Toole drove her in on a sacrifice fly to right field for the game's only run.
McFarland looked to do more damage in the bottom of the third inning with a lead-off triple, but UMBC starter Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) worked her way out of the inning scoreless.
Alexander finished with two of the team's four hits in the game, but it was a double from senior Katlin Olesky (Irvine, Calif./Saddleback College) that gave the Retrievers a chance to tie up the game in the top of the seventh inning. Freshman Emily Neal (Bear, Del./Caravel Academy) moved Olesky over to third on a sacrifice bunt, but UMBC stranded the game-tying run on third.
Holte (10-6) drops her first start in 10 games, allowing one run on five hits, while Erynn Sobieski improves to 6-3 with the shutout victory.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC continues road action with a trip to La Salle for a midweek doubleheader on Wednesday, April 15.