BALTIMORE – UMBC softball's senior first baseman Chelsea Bertoglio (Laguna Hills, Calif./Laguna Hills/Saddleback College) had a career-day for the Retrievers, launching three home runs, including a grand slam in game two, to help the black and gold to a pair of victories against Rhode Island on Tuesday afternoon at the UMBC Softball Stadium. Bertoglio and freshman pitcher Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) each received conference weekly honors on the day.
In their home opener, the Retrievers defeated the Rams in six innings, 9-1, in game one, thanks in large part to a five-run fifth inning. UMBC used a shutout from the America East Rookie of the Week Lane and a grand slam from Bertoglio in game two, en route to a 6-0 victory.
Bertoglio, the America East Player of the Week, finished the day four-for-six from the plate with seven RBI, while sophomore Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Keough) posted a .857 on-base percentage with two hits and four walks.
The Retrievers improve to 14-4 on the year, their best start since the 2006 season, while Rhode Island falls to 1-10 on the season.
Both teams stranded a pair of runners on base in the opening inning of game one, as the Rams left runners on second and third and the Retrievers stranded runners on first and second to keep the game scoreless after one.
Rhode Island got on the board first, taking advantage of a pair of errors in the top of the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead, but the Retrievers were able to recover, putting two runners on with two outs in the fifth for junior catcher Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./). Hall took advantage, connecting on a single into right center field to score sophomore Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) and O'Malley, who each walked to get on base. Bertoglio followed by drilling her third home run of the year, a two-run shot over the left field fence. UMBC added one more run in the frame on a single from Lane to extend its lead to 5-1, forcing the departure of starting pitcher Sam Bedore, who would take the loss after allowing five runs on five hits.
The Retrievers' offense continued to be effective against reliever Cassie Baker, as a pair of walks and a single loaded the bases. An illegal pitch scored UMBC's first run of the inning and the Retrievers' freshmen Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) and Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Easter Camden Regional) each drove in a run with singles. A sacrifice fly to right field from sophomore Mary Hartman (Eldersburg, Md./Century) ended the contest with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
The Retrievers finished game one with eight hits and nine walks. Freshman pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) improves to 9-0 on the year, tying for 10th with three former Retrievers for the highest win total for a UMBC rookie in program history. Holte did not allow an earned run or a walk in the contest.
Lane ran into early problems in game two, hitting a pair of batters and surrendering a single to right field to load the bases for designated player Deanna Wolf. Lane was able to escape the jam untouched, getting Wolf to line out to third and short stop Jenna Cubello to fly out to center to end the inning.
UMBC used a double play, throwing a pair of runners out at the plate on a bunt, to keep the game scoreless heading into the bottom of the second inning. Bertoglio and the Retrievers struck in the bottom half of the frame, with Bertoglio launching her second home run of the day, this one over the fence in center field, to take the 1-0 lead.
A single from O'Malley in the bottom of the third inning gave UMBC a two-run advantage, 2-0, scoring senior right fielder Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) from second.
UMBC tacked on four runs in the fifth behind Bertoglio's grand slam. O'Neill opened the frame with a single through the left side of the infield and O'Malley and junior Kathleen Sharp (Toms River, N.J./Toms River) each added infield singles to load the bases for Bertoglio's blast into left center.
Lane allowed three hits in the shutout and improves to 3-3 on the year, while URI's Caitlin Kennedy takes the loss after surrendering six runs on seven hits.
UMBC hits the road on Wednesday, March 12 when it travels to Towson for a 2:30 p.m. matchup against the Tigers.