BALTIMORE – UMBC softball picked up a pair of critical America East victories as the Retrievers used a pair of walk-off home runs to sweep a doubleheader against UMass Lowell on Friday afternoon at the UMBC Softball Stadium. UMBC sophomore short stop Bridget O'Malley (Brooklyn, Md./Seton Keough) launched a three-run home run, her second blast of the day, in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Retrievers a 7-5 victory in game two, while junior catcher Taylor Hall (Cosby, Va./Cosby) tallied one of her four RBI on a solo home run that ended game one in six innings with a 10-2 black and gold victory.
O'Malley finished the day with five runs batted in, while Hall registered a team-best four hits on the day. Hall enters the top-10 list at UMBC in runs batted in for her career (104) and the top-10 in home runs for a single-season (11).
The Retrievers improve to 26-16 on the season and 4-6 in America East play, while UMass Lowell falls to 8-28 overall and 1-9 in the league.
Freshman third baseman Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) put UMBC out in front 1-0 with her first collegiate home run, a blast over the fence in left center, in the bottom of the second inning of game one.
The Retrievers added four unearned runs in the third inning to take a 5-0 advantage. Sophomore designated player Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) extended her hit streak to seven straight games with a lead-off single and O'Malley reached base on an error to put runners on first and second. Back-to-back fly outs allowed O'Neill to come around and score. The Retrievers followed with three straight singles, including a two-run shot into left field from senior right fielder Caitlin Chance (Easton, Md./Easton) to cap-off UMBC's scoring in the frame.
A controversial call at the plate on a double steal from UMass Lowell scored the first of two runs in the top of the fourth inning for the River Hawks, trimming the deficit to three, at 5-2.
Hall led off the fifth with a single through the right side of the infield and Jackson picked up her second RBI of the day on a double down the left field line to score her from second. Jackson came around to score on a single down the line from Chance to extend the lead to 7-2.
The Retrievers ended the contest with back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Junior second baseman Katlin Olesky (Irvine, Calif./Saddleback College) led-off the inning with a single through the left side. O'Malley drove Olesky in on her third home run of the season. Hall launched her team-leading 11th home run of the season for the walk-off victory.
Chance and Jackson each finished game one a perfect 3-for-3 from the dish and combined for five runs batted in.
UMBC freshman pitcher Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) held the River Hawks to two runs on four hits to improve to 15-7 on the season. Her 15 victories ties for eighth on UMBC's single-season wins list and is the third-highest win total for a Retrievers' freshman in program history.
Early control issues in the circle in game two helped the Retrievers take an early 1-0 lead. O'Neill singled to lead-off the frame and came around to score following a pair of wild pitches from River Hawks' starting pitcher Lauren Ramirez.
Casagrand found herself in a jam as a single and back-to-back errors on River Hawk bunts loaded the bases in the top of the fifth inning. UMass Lowell capitalized and took the 4-1 advantage on a grand slam from right fielder Brianna Martin, cuing the exit of Casagrand after allowing two earned runs on four hits in four innings.
The Retrievers threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning, loading the bases with two outs for Hall, whoe capitalized by clearing the bases with a single into the gap in right center field to tie the game at four apiece.
UMass Lowell loaded the bases in the sixth, but were unable to come away with any runs, however, the River Hawks did take back the lead in the top of the seventh inning. A walk and a single put runners on first and second and a sacrifice bunt put both runners in scoring position. Catcher Kate Donovan came through with a single to left field to put UMass Lowell on top, 5-4.
The Retrievers put a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh on an infield error from UMass Lowell. O'Neill was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with two outs and O'Malley followed with her second blast of the day, this one into left center with two outs and a full count, to complete the come-from-behind victory.
Freshman pitcher Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) earned her seventh victory of the season (7-6), allowing one run on two hits in three innings, while Ramirez surrendered four earned runs on six hits.
The series concludes on Saturday, April 19 with a single game set for 11 a.m. at the UMBC Softball Stadium. Saturday marks Fan Appreciation Day and Strikeout Cancer Day at UMBC. There will be a mini bat giveaway to the first 150 fans in attendance at the game, along with discounted food prices, prizes and more. Donations will be accepted for the American Cancer Society.