Baltimore, MD – The UMBC Softball team returned from a 10-day break in stride on Thursday afternoon by sweeping local rival Coppin State, 6-3 and 10-4, at UMBC Softball Stadium.
The team was led offensively in game one by junior Toni Santonastasso (Canonsburg, Pa./Pope John XXIII Regional), sophomore Morgan Peyou (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) and senior Jaclyn Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional). In the circle, seniors Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central) and Nicole Casagrand (Melbourne, Fla./Hatboro-Horsham) and junior Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) led the way in game one.
The Retrievers were paced offensively in game two by seniors Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) and Lane, junior Carly Lesko (New Milford, N.J./New Milford), and freshman Maddie Daigneau (New River, Ariz./Boulder Creek). Senior Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee) and junior Puccio led the team in the circle.
Two Retrievers reached career milestones on the day as Lane recorded her 100th career hit in the in game one and Jackson recorded her 100th career RBI on an inside-the-park homer in game two.
UMBC (11-15) and Coppin State (2-18) began the first game with two scoreless innings, but the Eagles broke into the run column first with a two-run homer in the top of the third. The Retrievers would answer right back with a run in the bottom half thanks to an RBI single by Peyou that scored Buckley. They would add on two more in the fourth on a Santonastasso two RBI double to right center, scoring Lane and Jackson. In the top half of the fifth, Casagrand inherited a two-on, no out situation, and worked out of it scoreless with the help of back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
The Retrievers manufactured insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth, when Daigneau led off with a single, advanced to second on a single by Peyou, moved to third on a groundout, and brought home by a Jackson sacrifice fly. The Eagles answered with one run in the top of the sixth, but UMBC responded with two of their own, one off a solo shot by Santonastasso and one on a fielder's choice by Daigneau. Puccio would come in to close the game out, tossing a scoreless top of the seventh.
Peyou went 3-for-4 in her first game back after a two-week hiatus, Santonastasso drove in three of the Retrievers' runs, while Buckley scored two runs. Lane got her 100th career hit on a bunt single in the fourth along with her first win of the year, and Puccio recorded her first save of the season.
The Eagles once again took an early lead in game two, getting an unearned run in the top of the first, but the Retrievers' bats began to heat up in the second inning. Jackson led off the second with a solo shot to center field, and was followed up four batters later with a two-run shot to left field by Lesko. Coppin State came back with a three-run homer in the third inning to retake the lead at 4-3/
Daigneau and Jackson got to second and third in the third inning off two singles, and were driven in Lane on a single to right field. The Retrievers then put the game away by tallying five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Daigneau hit an RBI double and then scored on an error two batters later. Jackson provided the big blow of the inning with three-run inside-the-park homer to right field, which put her over the 100 mark for career RBI (102).
Puccio came in the game in the fifth with a two-on, no out situation and worked out the jam with no runs allowed. Heads-up defense at third base by Jackson led to a double play to account for the first two outs of the inning, and Puccio induced a grounder back to the circle for the final out of the inning. Puccio would pitch the final three innings to earn her second save of the day and season.
Jackson accounted for four RBI off two home runs, Daigneau went a perfect 4-for-4 with an RBI, while Lane and Lesko each drove in two runs,. In addition, Holte notched her third win of the season.
The Retrievers will play four games this weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday, at UMBC Softball Stadium against both Robert Morris and Siena.