STONY BROOK, N.Y. – UMBC softball came one out away from picking up a pair of critical America East victories in Wednesday afternoon's neutral site doubleheader against Maine. The Retrievers came from behind for a 2-1 victory in game one behind a two-run double from junior Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern), but UMBC was unable to hold on to a 2-0 lead in the top of the seventh, falling 3-2 in game two at University Field on the campus of Stony Brook.
UMBC sophomore pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) had a tremendous day, allowing one earned run in 14 innings of work and striking out nine batters. Freshman Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) drilled her fifth home run of the season for one of her two hits on the day.
GAME 1: UMBC 2, Maine 1
The league's top-two pitchers in strikeouts and wins battled in game one, tossing five scoreless innings to start the contest. UMBC tallied a pair of singles in the bottom of the first inning but were unable to capitalize as Maine's starting pitcher Alexis Bogdanovich picked up two of her 10 strikeouts in the game to end the frame. Each pitcher surrendered just three hits through the first four innings.
Maine (20-18, 9-5 AE) struck first in the top of the sixth inning, leading off the inning with a single from sophomore Felicia Lennon. A stolen base for Lennon and a ground out from senior EmJ Fogel put a runner at third for the Black Bears. Junior Janelle Bouchard was hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners and senior Nikki Byron took advantage with an RBI-single up the middle to put Maine out in front, 1-0.
The Retrievers (22-24, 8-5 AE) were able to respond with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. UMBC put runners at the corners with back-to-back errors from the Black Bears. Sophomore Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) lined out to the pitcher to mark the second out of the inning, but O'Neill followed with a two-run double to left center, despite two outs and a full count against her.
Maine's Erika Leonard singled with one out in the top of the seventh, but a fly out to left from senior Jessica Burk and Leonard over running the base on a steal attempt ended the contest.
Holte surrendered one run on six hits and struck out four batters in the victory. Senior Alexis Bogdanovich (13-6) did not allow an earned run in the loss, surrendering five hits in the loss.
GAME 2: Maine 3, UMBC 2
Game two proved to be another pitching battle with Holte and sophomore Erin Bogdanovich tossing four scoreless innings to start the second contest. UMBC struck first in game two on a solo homer to center field from Lesko in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Retrievers strung together four singles in the bottom of the sixth, including an RBI-single through the left side of the infield from sophomore Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional). UMBC was able to extend its lead to 2-0 before stranding the bases loaded.
Errors proved to be the difference in the contest, as a pair of miscues in the top of the seventh inning allowed Maine to take the lead. Freshman Rachel Carlson reached base safely and moved over to second in the lead-off spot on a fielding error from the Retrievers. A grounder moved her over to third and a single up the middle from Lennon, after a dropped foul ball, scored the Black Bears' first run of the contest. Holte picked up her fourth strikeout of the game to get the second out of the inning, but Bouchard drilled a ball over the fence in left field to put Maine out in front, 3-2.
The Retrievers' lead-off runner reached base on an error in the bottom of the seventh, but UMBC was unable to take advantage as Alexis Bogdanovich came in to pick up her first save of the year.
Holte (14-11) did not allow an earned run in the game and finished with five strikeouts. Erin Bogdanovich allowed two runs on four hits in 5.1 innings of work. Freshman Annie Kennedy (3-2) picked up the win.
UP NEXT FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC closes out the regular-season with a three-game series against Stony Brook, beginning with a doubleheader on Friday, May 1.