BALTIMORE – UMBC softball senior catcher Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) launched the sixth home run of her career to become the 10th player in program history to record 200 hits in her career in game one of Friday's non-conference doubleheader against South Carolina State at UMBC Softball Stadium. The Retrievers combined for 25 hits in the two games en route to a pair of walk-off six inning victories, including a 14-6 win in game one and a 12-4 victory in game two.
Hall also moved into a tie for second on UMBC's all-time extra-base hits list (79), a tie for third all-time in RBI (147) and a tie for fourth on the doubles list (44) after finishing the day with two doubles, a home run and seven runs batted in. Freshman Emily Neal (Bear, Del./Caravel Academy) and sophomore Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) joined Hall in hitting at a .667 clip for the day, while freshman Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) drove in four runs and added in five stolen bases.
"In both games we jumped out to comfortable leads, but give South Carolina State credit, they fought hard to come back and tie both games. Our ladies didn't waste any time responding in either game and we were able to finish the job on a walk-off single in game one and a pair of home runs in game two.
"Today was a great day for Taylor," French continued. "She has been a clutch and steady hitter throughout her four years. Unlike a lot of players, she not only has the ability to post a high batting average, but she hits for power and drives in runs."
GAME 1: UMBC built up a six-run lead through the first three innings, but a rough top of the fourth inning from the Retrievers' pitching staff knotted the game at six apiece. UMBC wasted no time, tacking on five more runs in the bottom of the fifth and finishing off the game with a walk-off two-run single from senior Kathleen Sharp (Toms River, N.J./Brookdale CC).
UMBC starting pitcher Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) helped her own cause with an RBI-double to right center with a runner on first in the bottom of the second inning to put the Retrievers out in front 1-0.
The Retrievers led off the third with a single from Neal and followed with Hall's 200th career hit over the fence in right center to give UMBC a 3-0 advantage.
UMBC added three more runs with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning after loading the bases with a walk from Alexander and back-to-back singles from Neal and Hall. Sophomore Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) drove in two of her three runs on the day with a double to left center to give the Retrievers a six-run cushion.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases, but it was a Retriever error that started off the scoring in the six-run top of the fifth inning for SCSU. Tiara Lovejoy took advantage, following with a two-run double to left to score two runs and the Bulldogs added in three straight RBI-singles to tie the contest.
UMBC responded by loading the bases in the bottom half of the frame. Pinch hitter Courtney Reinfeld (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas) drove in one run on a grounder to second and Alexander followed by clearing the bases with a three-run double to left center. Sharp picked up her first of two RBI on the day with a bunt single to put UMBC back out in front, 11-6.
The Retrievers closed out game one with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, including an RBI-single through the right side of the infield from Sharp to score Alexander from third and end the contest.
Lane surrendered four earned runs on four hits in 4.1 innings of work, but sophomore Jessica Holte (12-6) earned the win in relief, holding the Bulldogs to one run on three hits. Holte moved into ninth all-time at UMBC in wins (30) in the midst of her second season on campus. SCSU's Jareece Sayles (6-12) allowed 11 runs on 10 hits in four innings of work in the loss. Keirra Cromer threw 1.2 innings of relief and surrendered three runs on five hits.
GAME 2: UMBC once again jumped out to the early lead in game two, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth, with Jackson, junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) and junior Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Md./South River) all picking up an RBI in the frame.
South Carolina State used some small ball to plate one run in the second inning and an UMBC error proved to be costly in the third as the Bulldogs tied up the contest at four apiece through three innings of play.
The Retrievers put two runners on in the bottom of the fourth inning for Hall, who launched her first of two doubles in the game. O'Neill put runners at the corners and freshman Toni Santonastasso (Galena, Ohio/Pope John XXIII Regional) cleared the bases with a two-run single to left center to put UMBC back on top, 8-4.
Hall chipped in her second two-run double of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning to set up the walk-off in the sixth. Sophomore Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional) led-off the sixth with her first homer of the season on shot over the left field fence. Two batters later, sophomore Kinsey Shifflett (Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg) stepped into the lineup and drilled the first pitch over the left field fence for her first collegiate home run.
UMBC starting pitcher Nicole Casagrand (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) allowed one run on three hits in two innings of work. Freshman Kim Puccio (4-4) picked up the win, allowing one earned run on six hits in four innings. SCSU starter Cecily Ruiz did not make it out of the first inning, surrendering four runs on one hit and three walks. Cromer (2-7) threw 5.2 innings, allowing seven earned runs on 11 hits in the loss.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC celebrates Senior Day on Saturday, April 18 when the Retrievers host Lehigh for a 1 p.m. doubleheader at UMBC Softball Stadium.