McCarthy Dazzles, Coppersmith Shines at the Plate and in the Circle as Softball Sweeps Norfolk State

Photo: Ian Feldmann
Photo: Ian Feldmann

Baltimore, Md.-- Freshman pitchers Gillian McCarthy (Northfield, N.J.) and Courtney Coppersmith (York, Pa.) each shut down a high powered Norfolk State offense as the UMBC Softball team swept a doubleheader from the visiting Spartans on Wednesday afternoon.

McCarthy pitched the first seven inning shutout of her career, allowing just two hits in a 7-0 win. Coppersmith allowed just a single earned run and hit the tie-breaking grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the sixth as the Retrievers took the first game, 5-2.

Game 1

UMBC (17-12, 2-1 AE) got on the board right away in the first game. Coppersmith hit a one out single up the middle and Sierra Pierce (Youngstown, Ohio) followed with a walk. After Logan Hawker (Mechanicsville, Va.) reached on an error to load the bases, Valerie Hammett (Mechanicsville, Md.) then drove in Coppersmith with an RBI groundout.

The Retrievers continued to hold the 1-0 lead until the top of the fifth when Norfolk State (17-14, 5-1 MEAC) tied it up on a one out solo homer. Coppersmith, however, would respond in a big way in the sixth for UMBC.

Anna Lonchar (Bristow, Va.) leadoff the sixth by getting hit by a pitch, and then, after a pop out, pinch runner Noelani Herrera (Arnold, Md.) moved to second on an Imani Dawson (Hanover, Md.) sacrifice bunt. Julia Keffler (Huntingtown, Md.) then worked a walk after being down 1-2 in the count, and Maddie Daigneau (New River, Ariz.) followed by slapping the first pitch she saw through the left side to load the bases with two outs. The left handed Coppersmith then sent a 1-2 pitch through the wind and over the fence in left center for a grand slam, the first homer of her career.

The Spartans added an unearned run in the top of the seventh to close the scoring at 5-2. Coppersmith improved to 12-6 on the season, striking out 10, walking two and allowing just four hits.

Game 2

The second game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Coppersmith hit a leadoff double. Pierce then walked, and Hawker moved both over with a sacrifice bunt. Hammett lined a single to left to put UMBC up 1-0, before an infield single by Lonchar loaded the bases. Kaly Winslow (Leesburg, Va.) was then hit by a pitch to force in Pierce and double the Retriever advantage to 2-0.

UMBC broke it open in the fifth with five runs. Keffler started the inning with a single, Coppersmith walked and Pierce laid down a beautiful bunt single to load the bases. Hawker then hit an RBI single up the middle to score Keffler, and Coppersmith came into score when the center fielder overran the ball on the play. Karly Keating (Orlando, Fla.) drove in a run in her first at bat of the year when her grounder to short was misplayed. Herrera followed with her first career RBI on a misplayed grounder to make it 6-0. Keating would eventually score on another error to account for the final of 7-0.

McCarthy was brilliant in the circle as she shut down a Spartan offense that was batting .284 and averaging 5.1 runs and 7.5 hits a game. She allowed a leadoff single, but no other hits until a two-out bloop single in the seventh. She allowed just the two hits, struck out two and walked one in the first scoreless, seven inning complete game of her career.

The Retrievers will end their season-long 15 game homestand when they welcome Maine for a three game America East series this weekend. Saturday will be a doubleheader at noon, and the series will wrap on Sunday at 1 p.m.