Greenville, NC – The UMBC softball team's top three hitters, Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior), Erin Trnka (Goffstown, N.H./Goffstown) and Maddie Daigneau (New River, Ariz./Boulder Creek) combined for nine hits, while freshman Anna Lonchar (Bristow, Va./Patriot) drove in three runs, but the Retrievers dropped two hard fought contests to open 2018. UMBC faltered late in a 4-2 loss to Towson and then couldn't rally in 10-6 defeat against Saint Joseph's on Friday's first day of the Pirate Clash at ECU.
The Retrievers were led in the circle in the season opener by sophomore Valerie Hammett (Mechanicsville, Md./Chopticon). The sophomore allowed three runs (one earned) in 4.2 innings of work. On offense, Daigneau led the charge with an RBI triple in the third inning.
The game began with the Tigers (4-1) scoring the opening run on a wild pitch, but UMBC would respond with single runs in both the second and third innings. Sophomore Kennedy Lamb (Mexico, N.Y./Mexico Academy and Central School) drove in the run in the second inning with a single to right to bring in senior Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford).
Hammett would hold the Tigers to one run until the fifth inning, when they scored three runs to take a 4-2 advantage. The Retrievers would threaten in the seventh after a lead-off walk by Lamb, but would not be able to capitalize.
Senior Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) allowed one run and one hit on 1.1 innings of relief work.
Towson was led by Daria Edwards on offense, who had one hit, two runs scored, and a walk. In the circle, Julia Smith-Harrington went six innings, allowing two runs on three hits to earn the win.
Daigneau continued her strong day at the plate against the Hawks, going 3-for-3 and drawing a walk in the second game of the day.
Lonchar's first two collegiate hits were big ones, as they drove in three runs in the game, with two coming on a double.
Alexander went 2-for-5 in the game, extending her hitting streak to 17 games, dating back to last season. Meanwhile, Trnka singled in the opening frame to record her first hit since 2016 due to missing all of last season with an injury.
The top three batters in the lineup combined to go 7-for-12 with three runs scored and a walk in the night cap.
The Hawks got out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning, but UMBC got one back in the fourth when a throwing error allowed freshman Sierra Pierce (Youngstown, Ohio/Jackson-Milton) to score. After SJU stretched the lead to 8-1, the Retrievers responded with two runs after Toni Santonastasso (Canonsburg, Pa./Pope John XXIII Regional) brought in Daigneau with an RBI groundout, and Lonchar had a run-scoring single.
Freshman Julia Keffler (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) started the sixth with a single, the first hit of her career, and would eventually score on a wild pitch. Lonchar would then hit her big two-out, two-RBI double to trim the Hawk lead to just 8-6. However, SJU would add two unearned runs in the top of the seventh to seal the victory.
The Retrievers are back in action for day two of the Pirate Clash, taking on Towson at 3:00 p.m. and host East Carolina at 5:30 p.m. The second game will be broadcast free of charge with a link available on UMBCRetrievers.com