Bethlehem, Pa. – Sophomore pitcher Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) shut down Patriot League-leading Lehigh as the UMBC Softball team handed the Mountain Hawks only their second home loss of the season, 2-0, on Saturday at Leadership Park. Lehigh would take the second game, 4-1, to earn the split.
The first game was a classic pitcher's duel as Puccio kept the potent Lehigh lineup relatively quiet the entire game. UMBC (20-26, 3-8) would had a chance to score in the top of the sixth when Jenn Stupey (Edmonds, Wash./Kamiak) worked a two-out pinch-hit walk and was followed by a Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) single to right. Both runners, however, would end up stranded.
In the seventh, Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional) singled to left to lead off, Jordan Sganga (Edgewater, Maryland/South River) then reached on a bunt single. Morgan Peyou (Mercer Island, Wash/Mercer Island) loaded the bases, and Bridget O'Malley (Baltimore, Md/Seton Keough) put UMBC up 1-0 with a single. The Retrievers would add a second run on a wild pitch and take the 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Lehigh (30-11, 8-1) would put the first two runners on in the seventh via a walk and an error, but Puccio would escape unharmed to seal the victory.
Puccio went the distance to improve to 6-3 on the season, she allowed just two hits, walked five and struck out two in the shutout.
UMBC jumped out to an early lead when Peyou started the game off with a bunt single moved to second when Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) reached on a dropped fly ball. Danielle O'Neill (Lothian, Md./Southern) would drive in Peyou with a double, but the Retrievers would end up stranding the bases loaded before they could add on to the lead. The score remained 1-0 until Lehigh finally got to UMBC starter Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va/Atlee) and put up four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Holte fell to 10-11 on the season despite going the distance and allowing only two earned runs on seven hits. The junior walked only one batter, struck out none and threw 71 pitches.
UMBC returns to campus on Wednesday when they host Norfolk State for a doubleheader beginning at 2:15 to conclude non-conference play.