PHILADELPHIA – UMBC softball registered 14 hits in Tuesday's non-conference doubleheader against La Salle, but the Retrievers used all of their offense in game one as a pair of three-run home runs helped UMBC to defeat La Salle, 6-1, but the Explorers held the Retrievers to two hits en route to a 6-0 victory in game two.
The Retrievers move to 18-15 on the season with the split, while La Salle moves to an even 10-10 on the year.
GAME 1: UMBC had three batters register multiple hits as the Retrievers tallied 12 hits in game one, led by a three-for-four performance from sophomore Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional), but it was a pair of long balls that helped the Retrievers to a 6-1 come-from-behind victory.
The Retrievers threatened in the top of the second inning with a pair of singles to lead off the inning and a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third, but La Salle starting pitcher Alicia Aughton was able to get back-to-back ground outs to end the inning.
The Explorers were able to hop out in front on a solo home run to left center from Suzanne Swanicke in the bottom of the second inning.
UMBC started off the top of the fourth inning with a pair of singles again from Jackson and junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern). Sophomore Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) blasted her second home run of the season to put the Retrievers on top, 3-1.
La Salle put a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth inning on a double to left center field from Linnette Siedler, but UMBC starting pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) registered her eighth strikeout of the afternoon to get out of the inning.
The Retrievers added some insurance in the top of the seventh inning. A pair of singles to lead off the frame from freshman Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) and classmate Emily Neal (Bear, Del./Caravel Academy) put two aboard for senior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby), who launched her fifth home run of the season to give the Retrievers a 6-1 advantage.
Holte held the Explorers to three hits in the game, including one over the final five innings to improve to 11-6 on the season. The sophomore fanned eight batters on the day and did not surrender a walk. Aughton allowed three runs in four innings for the loss (2-4) and Mary Cate Scott surrendered three runs on five hits.
GAME 2: The Retrievers offense slowed down in game two, as La Salle pitchers McKenzie Peace and Scott combined to hold UMBC to two hits in a shutout victory in game two.
La Salle led-off the bottom of the second with a walk and followed with a homer to left field to take the quick 2-0 lead. A two-out walk and back-to-back singles added a third run in the inning for the Explorers. UMBC looked for the response in the top of the third with an error and a single to put runners on base and a sacrifice bunt moved a pair of runners into scoring position, but the Retrievers were unable to capitalize in the frame.
A one-out single from Valerie Pineiro put one aboard for Erica Reis, who launched a two-run blast to extend the Explorers' lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth and cue the end of the game for UMBC starter Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta). La Salle added further insurance in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases on relief pitcher Nicole Casagrand (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) and driving in a run on a single to left from Pineiro.
Puccio (3-4) allowed five runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings of work, while Casagrand surrendered one run on five hits. Peace allowed two hits and tossed four scoreless innings to improve to 4-3 on the year. Scott came in for three scoreless innings.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC returns home for a pair of non-conference doubleheaders at UMBC Softball Stadium over the weekend, beginning with a matchup against South Carolina State on Friday, April 17. The Retrievers will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday, April 18 with a battle against Lehigh.