Montgomery, Ala.— Senior shortstop Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) hit a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning that gave UMBC its first victory of the season, 6-5 over Nicholls State at the ASU (Alabama State) Black & Gold Tournament on Saturday night.
In their first game of the day, the Retrievers dropped a hard-fought 5-4 eight-inning decision to Middle Tennessee State. UMBC now is 1-3 in the tournament and 1-7 overall this season.
Middle Tennessee State (4-4) took a 1-0 lead in the second off of UMBC starter Nicole Casagrand (Melbourne, Fla./Hatboro-Horsham). The Retrievers struck for four runs in the third. Morgan Peyou (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) and Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) each drove in one run, and junior Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) belted a two-run homer. The Blue Raiders tied the game at four with a three-run fifth, and won it in the eighth on sacrifice fly after a runner was placed on second to begin the inning due to tiebreaker rules. Casagrand (0-1) pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out six.
Nicholls State (8-3) took an early 2-0 lead after scoring single runs in the first and second off Retriever starter Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta). UMBC cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second when second baseman Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional) hit an RBI double, but the Colonels would push the lead to 4-1 in the fourth. The Retrievers would quickly halve the Nicholls lead in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) solo homer. UMBC tied it in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out, two-run single by sophomore first baseman Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford). The Colonels answered for a 5-4 lead in the sixth, but O'Malley's heroics put the Retrievers in front for good, and Puccio (1-1) worked a perfect seventh to seal the win. Puccio pitched a complete game in the victory, giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits and striking out four. Lesko and Peyou both went 3-for-3 at the plate, while sophomore Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) finished 2-for-4 with a stolen base and two runs scored.
UMBC closes out play in the Alabama State Black & Gold Tournament with an 11 a.m. game Sunday against the host Hornets.