ORONO, Maine — The University of Maryland-Baltimore County went 3 for 7 with runners on base and all three hits produced runs while the University of Maine went just 1 for 8.
The result was a 3-0 softball victory for the Retrievers in Maine’s home-opener at Kessock Field Friday afternoon.
UMBC is now 23-15 overall and 1-5 in America East, while Maine fell to 13-12 and 5-4, respectively. The teams will conclude their series with a doubleheader at noon Saturday.
Freshman left-hander Jessica Holte went the distance for her 14th win in 20 decisions, scattering four singles with three strikeouts and two walks. She threw 119 pitches, of which 78 were strikes.
“My riseball was actually working really well and I liked throwing my changeup. I threw a couple of first-pitches with it and I liked mixing that in,” said Holte. “When they had runners on base, I tried to make sure I kept my pitches down so if they did hit it, they’d hit it on the ground and my defense would be able to make the plays.”
“She threw a lot in and out and her changeup was working today,” said Maine sophomore center fielder EmJ Fogel, who had one of Maine’s four hits.
The Retrievers scored the only runs they needed in a two-run fourth-inning rally.
Maine senior right-hander Hannah Hill allowed just one single through the first three innings with 24 strikes among 33 pitches.
But she walked Bridget O’Malley and Taylor Hall on nine pitches to jump-start the rally, and O’Malley scored when Danielle O’Neill grounded a single to left and Maine left fielder Samantha Ralphs overran the ball.
One out later, with runners on first and second, Kaelin Jackson hit a one-hopper back to Hill, but Hill threw to first instead of third. It proved to be a costly mental error when Kelly Lane poked a two-out run-scoring line drive single to right.
”It might have been outside. I took it the other way,” said Lane.
“It was definitely a good poke on her part,” said Hill.
On the first two walks, Hill said, “I’m an up pitcher typically and I let the ball get a little too high.”
The Retrievers added an unearned insurance run in the sixth when Chelsea Bertoglio reached on Hill’s two-out fielding error and pinch-runner Jordan Sganga eventually scored on Lane’s slow roller down the first-base line.
“That was just lucky,” said Lane, the game’s lone repeat hitter.
Maine stranded five runners.
Fogel singled in the second and went to second on a wild pitch with nobody out, but she never advanced any farther.
In the fourth, Jean Stevens and Rachel Harvey had one-out singles and Maine had runners on first and third. But Shelby Obert grounded sharply to second baseman Kaitlin Olesky, who made made a heads-up play by tagging Harvey and throwing to first for a double play.
Right fielder Caitlin Chance made a nice running catch on Kristen Koslosky’s scorching liner to right center in the fifth.
“We hit the ball hard right at people a couple times,” said Maine coach Lynn Coutts. “And we had a couple unlucky bounces. But they played a little better than we did.”
Hill, now 6-2, finished with a four-hitter, striking out six and walking three. She threw 62 strikes among 99 pitches.