Raleigh, NC. -- Freshman pitcher Courtney Coppersmith (York, Pa.) struck out 19 batters over 8.2 innings, as the UMBC Softball team split a pair of games in North Carolina on Sunday.
Sophomore Imani Dawson (Hanover, Md.) hit a two-out two-run homer in the top of the sixth as the Retrievers rallied for a 3-2 win over Murray State in the morning. UMBC then loaded the bases with no outs in the top seventh against host North Carolina State in the second game, but could only get a single run across before falling 2-1.
In the second game, Coppersmith made her first career start, and struck out 14, allowing just three hits and two earned runs in six innings. In the morning victory, she entered with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, with Murray State (4-7) leading 2-0. She escaped the trouble and then UMBC (1-2) scored three times with two outs in the top of the sixth.
Sophomore Sierra Pierce (Youngstown, Ohio), got the rally started with a one out double, moved to third on an Anna Lonchar (Bristow, Va.) single and scored on a Valerie Hammett (Mechanicsville, Md.) sacrifice fly. Dawson then followed with her clutch homer to put UMBC in the lead for good.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Racers got the tying run to third with one out. Coppersmith got a strikeout, followed by back-to-back walks loaded the bases. However, the lefty escaped thanks to another strikeout. In the bottom of the seventh, Coppersmith struck out the first batter, before walking the next one. Pierce then saved the day with a sensational diving grab in left center for the second out, before Coppersmith got one final strikeout to end the game.
Pierce went 3-for-3 with two doubles and the run scored, while Coppersmith picked up the victory, going 2.2 of scoreless relief, striking out five and allowing just one hit. Freshman pitcher Gillian McCarthy (Northfield, N.J.) started and allowed just two runs, one earned, while striking out two and walking one in 4.1 innings.
In game two, Coppersmith recorded her first nine outs via strikeout, however she ran into trouble with two outs in the second, when she walked and then hit a batter, followed by two more walks to force in a run. NC State (4-6) would add a solo homer to lead off the fourth, but the freshman settled in after that getting the final nine batters in a row. She finished with 14 strikeouts, three hits, the two earned runs and six walks.
The Retrievers had three consecutive batters get hit by pitches in the top of the seventh, but only Kennedy Lamb (Mexico, N.Y.) scored, thanks to a passed ball. Pierce and junior Kaly Winslow (Leesburg, Va.) both singled for UMBC's only hits of the game. Winslow also added a stolen base.
UMBC returns to North Carolina next weekend for the Courtyard by Marriott Seahawk Softball Classic, hosted by UNC Wilmington. The Retrievers kick-off play with games against Lehigh and North Carolina A&T on Friday.