Nashville, Tenn. -- Senior third baseman Kaelin Jackson continued her torrid start, going 5-for-7 on the day with two doubles and an RBI, but it wasn't enough as the UMBC Softball team (0-3) dropped a pair of tough decisions to UMKC and tournament host Belmont on Saturday.
The Retrievers dropped a close 4-2 decision to the Kangaroos in the morning before falling 2-1 to the host Bruins in the nightcap.
It was the Retrievers who jumped out in front in the second inning when Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) scored from third on a steal attempt by Chelsie Delperuto (Syracuse, N.Y./Solvay). UMKC (1-1), however, would respond with three runs in the bottom half of the frame off of UMBC starter Jessica Holte (Ashland. Va./Atlee).
The Retrievers would trim the deficit to one in the fourth when Jackson scored on an error, but the Kangaroos would respond with a two-out RBI double in the fifth to push the lead back to two. Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) would relieve Holte in that fifth inning, but need only one pitch to induce a groundout to second base to strand the bases loaded. However, UMBC would get no closer and fall 4-2.
Holte (0-1) took the loss in her first start of the season. The senior southpaw went 4.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out two. Puccio went 1.1 innings, allowing no hits and only walking one batter.
Jackson had two of the four Retriever hits in the contest, a single and a double, while Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) and Morgan Peyou (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) each added a single of their own.
UMBC would get the first two batters on in each of the first three innings, including having second a third with less than two outs in the first two innings, but were unable to push across any runs. Both teams struggled to breakthrough until the fifth inning when a two-out bases loaded single followed by a run-scoring error put Belmont (4-0) up 2-0.
The Retrievers fought until the end, though, as shortstop Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge Senior) was hit by a pitch with two down in the top of the seventh and was then driven in by a double off the bat of Jackson who was down to her final strike. However, a flyout would end the threat.
Puccio (0-1) was the tough luck loser, allowing two runs, only one earned, on eight hits with two strikeouts and five walks. Sophomore Mallory Pollack (Ivyland, Pa./Council Rock North) earned her first career start and singled in her first at-bat.
The Retrievers close out play in Nashville with a rematch against UMKC (1-2) at 11 am.