Baltimore, MD – The UMBC Softball Team (22-28, 5-10 America East) twice rallied from multi-run deficits in the bottom of the seventh to walk-off twice on Saturday against the Hartford Hawks (3-43, 0-16 AE) for a double-header sweep on Senior Day at UMBC Softball Stadium.
Juniors Toni Santonastasso (Canonsburg, Pa./Pope John XXIII Regional) and Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) each delivered a walk-off hit, with Santonastasso hitting a grand slam, with the Retrievers down by three, to end game one, and Lesko capping off a three run seventh inning with a double to end game two.
Along with her game winner, Lesko went 3-for-4 in game one, and 5-for-7 on the day.
In the circle, the Retrievers received a strong relief performance by senior Nicole Casagrand (Melbourne, Fla./Hatboro-Horsham) in game one, and a complete game from classmate Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee). Casagrand tossed four innings in relief, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out three to record her fourth win, while Holte allowed three runs on ten hits to register her sixth win of the year.
Both teams benefitted from some early offense and the long ball in this game, with Hartford scoring three runs in the second inning to break through first. The Retrievers would respond in their half with three of their own with a two-run double by sophomore Chelsie Delperuto (Syracuse, N.Y./Solvay), who was then driven in by junior Haley DeLany (Lederach, Pa./Souderton Area) on a double of her own.
The Hawks would score five straight runs in the next two innings off a three-run homerun in the third and two runs in the fourth off a single and an error that allowed the batter to score. The Retrievers would once again answer with a two-run homer by senior Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional) over the center field wall.
Both sides would go scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, when freshman Maddie Daigneau (New River, Ariz./Boulder Creek) led off with a single, followed by a Lesko single, and then a walk by senior Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional). After a strikeout, Santonastasso's grand slam would end the game in walk-off fashion, driving the ball over the left center field wall.
Casagrand did not allow a hit from the fifth inning on, and received some stellar defense by junior Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) who made a diving catch in center field in the seventh inning.
The Retrievers got on the scoreboard first with an RBI single up the middle in the third inning by Daigneau to score Alexander, who walked, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch to start the inning.
Holte kept the Hawks scoreless until the sixth inning, where they tied the game with a run on a double to left field. The Hawks would add on two more runs in the seventh thanks to a two-run homer.
The bottom of the seventh began with a four-pitch walk to senior Kinsey Shifflett (Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg), which was followed by DeLany with a single. Alexander would then single in pinch runner Mallory Pollack (Ivyland, Pa./Council Rock North) to cut the deficit to 3-2. Daigneau followed with bloop single to center for an RBI to bring in DeLany. Lesko ended the game with a hard-hit double off the right center field wall to score Alexander.
The complete game win for Holte was her seventh complete game of the season.
The Retrievers' regular season came to an end today, as the seniors were sent off with a ceremony prior to first pitch of game two.
The Retrievers have earned the No.5 seed and will travel to Binghamton this week to partake in the America East Tournament, with the first game on Wednesday at 11 a.m. against fourth seeded Albany.