Greensboro, N.C.- Senior pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) was masterful in the circle, striking out seven, walking none and allowing only four hits in a complete game shutout as the UMBC Softball team edged Appalachian State, 1-0, on Saturday morning at the North Carolina A&T Aggie Invitational.
The Retrievers (3-4) would then drop a 5-4 heartbreaker to defending Horizon League champion, Valparaiso (2-0), in their second game of the day.
Making just her second and third appearances of her career, Maddie Daigneau (New River, Ariz./Boulder Creek) was stellar in the field and at the plate. The freshman shortstop went 3-for-7 with a double, triple, stolen base, and scored the winning run against App State (2-4).
The first game of the day was a classic pitchers duel as the teams combined for 18 strikeouts and only eight hits. The Mountaineers got a leadoff double in the bottom of the second, but a groundout and two strikeouts stranded the runner at third.
UMBC got a runner to second in every inning, but couldn't break through until the fifth when Daigneau hit a one out triple and would score on a two out wild pitch.
App State would load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, after a hit by pitch and two soft infield singles, but Holte would escape by inducing a flyout to right. That would be the last real threat for the Mountaineers as Holte worked a clean final two innings, punctuated by a strikeout to end the game.
A two-run homer in the top of the first put the Crusaders up 2-0 in the first. The Retrievers would tie the game at two in the fourth when a throwing error with the bases loaded plated both Toni Santonastasso (Canonsburg, Pa./Pope John XXIII Regional) and Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden regional).
Valpo would respond in the bottom half of the inning with a run and then add two more in the fifth to extend the lead to 5-2. UMBC would battle back in the sixth as Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) drew a one out walk and moved to third on a Buckley single to right center. Santonastasso would drive in Jackson with an RBI groundout to shortstop to cut the deficit to 5-3, and then Buckley would score on an Alexander double to close the gap to 5-4, but that's as close as the Retrievers would get.
UMBC finishes up play in Greensboro with games against App State and North Carolina A&T. The Retrievers and Mountaineers will have their rematch at 1 p.m., with the game against the host Aggies will follow.