Baltimore, Md. – The UMBC Softball team closed out the non-conference slate in style with a doubleheader sweep of Norfolk State on Wednesday at UMBC Softball Stadium. UMBC (22-26, 3-8) knocked off the Spartans in game 1, 5-1, before exploding for 10 runs on 15 hits in a 10-2 six inning victory in game 2.
Norfolk State (15-22, 9-5 MEAC) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2nd on a solo homer, but the Retrievers tied it up in the third on a solo shot to left from junior second baseman Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional). UMBC would break it open an inning later when the first two batters of the inning reached on singles, and after a fielder's choice got the lead runner, Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) would put the Retrievers ahead for good with an RBI single that plated Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa/Franklin Regional). Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) followed with a squeeze bunt to push the lead to 3-1, and Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, MD/South River) made it a 4-1 advantage with a two-out RBI single to left field. Freshman Morgan Peyou (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) would add to the lead in the sixth with a two-out RBI single that scored Buckley and ended the scoring.
Junior pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) pitched a complete game to earn the victory to improve to 11-11 on the year and move into a tie for third in career wins with 43. The lefty allowed just the one earned run on five hits, while striking out six and walking none.
UMBC jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in game two when Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) singled to leadoff the first. Alexander moved over to second on a Peyou sacrifice bunt and scored on a Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough) single. O'Malley would later score on a Lesko RBI single to right center. The score remained 2-0 until the fourth when the Spartans used a solo homer to cut the UMBC lead in half, but the Retrievers would quickly respond with two runs on an Alexander two-RBI single in the bottom half of the inning. Norfolk State would again cut the deficit in half on an unearned run in the sixth, but UMBC would explode for six runs in the bottom of the inning to end the game via run rule. The Retrievers loaded the bases with none out and O'Malley would drive in two of the runners with a single to right. Jackson followed by driving in the seventh run with a hard hit single to short, and the O'Neill followed her with an RBI single to left center. After a pitching change, Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) drove in the ninth run with a single to right, and Buckley then ended the game with a double off the wall in left center.
"I was proud of the way we responded to the unearned run in the sixth with the big inning the bottom half," Head Coach Joe French said.
Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta), the current America East Pitcher of the Week, continued to shine in her return from a month-long absence due to injury. The sophomore allowed just one earned run on two hits, while striking out three and walking one in the six inning complete game.
UMBC returns to action this weekend when it closes out the home schedule and welcomes UMass Lowell for a critical three-game America East series. The Retrievers and River Hawks will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m., and will close the series with a Senior Day celebration on Sunday at noon.