BALTIMORE – UMBC softball struggled to get clutch hits in Saturday's America East doubleheader against Binghamton, stranding 21 runners on base in the two contests to drop both games of the doubleheader to the Bearcats. UMBC left the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh of an 8-5 loss in game one before falling 5-1 in the day's second game at UMBC Softball Stadium. Due to expected weather in the Baltimore area, the series finale on Sunday, April 26 has been moved to 1 p.m.
The Retrievers (21-22, 7-4 AE) tallied 11 hits in game one, including a pair of homers from freshman Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) and sophomore Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional), who each finished the game with a pair of RBI. Freshman Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) batted .600 for the day with a solo home run in game two.
GAME 1: BINGHAMTON 8, UMBC 5
Binghamton took advantage of the lead-off batter reaching base by being hit by a pitch, as Sydney Harbaugh came around to score on a single down the right field line from Lisa Cadogan after Harbaugh stole second to put the Bearcats on the board in the top of the first inning. A single from Taylor Chaffee put runners on first and third for Kate Richard, who blasted her fifth homer of the season to put Binghamton on top, 4-0, after one.
The Retrievers wasted no time responding as Alexander drilled her fifth home run of the season in the lead-off spot. Senior Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) was hit by a pitch with one out. A two-out single from junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) put a pair of runners on for a Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) RBI-double to left center to pull the Retrievers within two, 4-2. UMBC was unable to cut into the deficit further, despite having runners on second and third.
A lead-off single from Caitlin Freeze and a double from Gabby Bracchi put a pair of runners in scoring position with no outs for Binghamton in to the top of the second. An errant throw on a sacrifice bunt proved to be costly, leading to a pair of runs in the frame for Binghamton.
UMBC threatened with the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the frame, but the Retrievers were unable to capitalize as Binghamton starting pitcher Shelby Donhauser was able to get a pair of foul outs and added in her second strikeout of the afternoon to escape without damage.
A one-out single from Bracchi was followed by the Bearcats' second home run of the game, this one from Harbaugh in the top of the fourth to put Binghamton on top, 8-2. The homer marked the end of UMBC starter Jessica Holte's (Ashland, Va./Atlee) (13-9) outing after six earned runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Relief pitcher Cara Martin came in to pitch for the fourth for the Bearcats, ending Donhauser's day after allowing two runs on four hits in three innings.
UMBC was not ready to give up, as a lead-off single in the bottom of the seventh from Hall put one aboard for Jackson's fifth home run of the season to bring the Retrievers within four, 8-4. A pair of two-out singles and a hit batter loaded the bases for UMBC. Alexander dropped in a single to left to score one run and keep the bases loaded with the Retrievers' trailing, 8-5. The Retrievers, who left 12 runners on base in the contest, stranded the bases loaded, ending the game on a ground out.
Martin earned the victory to improve to 8-4 on the season after allowing three runs on seven hits in four innings of work. Holte falls to 13-9 on the season with the loss. Freshman Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) allowed one hit in 3.2 scoreless innings of relief for the Retrievers.
GAME 2: BINGHAMTON 5, UMBC 2
Binghamton took the early lead again in game two following a walk, ground out and a double to center in the bottom of the first.
UMBC continued to struggle to take advantage of putting runners on base, stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning and leaving two on in the second.
The Bearcats were able to add to their lead with a two-run homer in the top of the third from Chaffee. A Retrievers' throwing error in the top of the fourth extended the lead to 4-0 in favor of Binghamton.
UMBC got one back in the bottom of the fourth inning on a solo homer from Lesko to get the Retrievers on the scoreboard.
The Retrievers loaded the bases again in the bottom of the sixth inning following two-out a walk and a pair of singles. Alexander was hit by a pitch to score a run and bring UMBC within three, 5-2, but Martin was able to get freshman Emily Neal (Bear, Del./Caravel Academy) to fly out to end the threat.
Binghamton starter Sarah Miller (6-6) allowed one run in five innings of work to pick up the victory. Martin allowed one run on three hits in two innings of relief. UMBC starter Miranda Clark (2-4) surrendered three runs on three hits in 2.1 innings, while Puccio surrendered one earned run on six hits in 4.2 innings.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: Game three of the series is set for noon on Sunday, April 26 at UMBC Softball Stadium. UMBC travels to Stony Brook, N.Y. for the final weekend of the regular season. The Retrievers will play Maine in a neutral site doubleheader on Wednesday, April 29, before battling the Seawolves in a three-game series over the weekend.