Freshman-pitcher Courtney Coppersmith has been sensational so far this season for the UMBC Retrievers softball team. Coppersmith has arguably been one of the best pitchers in the nation early on in the season. At certain points during the season, she has even led the country in strikeouts per seven innings. On Saturday, the Retrievers hosted Coppin State University for a non-conference double-header, and Coppersmith continued her dominance.
Coppersmith started the game in great fashion. She made quick work of the Eagles, retiring the side in order, and striking out two. In the second, she would get herself in trouble by walking two batters, but she would end the threat, eventually striking out the side to give her five strikeouts early on.
In the third, the Retrievers would allow the first runner of the game to reach on an error. That runner would eventually score on a groundout, giving Coppin state an early 1-0 lead. But, the Retrievers would answer quickly in the bottom of the third. UMBC would tie the game at 1-1 after a sacrifice bunt by junior-shortstop Maddie Daigneau.
Coppersmith continued to confuse batters, as she pursued a no-hitter through 4.2 innings. But, with two outs in the fifth inning, she would give up her first hit of the contest, an RBI single in a line drive between shortstop and second, giving Coppin State a 2-1 lead.
The Retrievers offense would explode in the bottom of the fifth inning. First, they would tie the game on an opposite-field single by freshman-outfielder Logan Hawker. Hawker would eventually score after a one-out blooper by sophomore-outfielder Sierra Pierce. The Retrievers would tally two more runs with two outs on a single by (r)freshman-catcher Anna Lonchar, and a double by junior-second baseman Kaly Windslow.
Neither team would score in the sixth or seventh innings. The Retrievers would win the game by a score of 5-2 behind Coppersmith’s outstanding performance. On the afternoon, Coppersmith would allow only 1 hit, pitching a complete game, and striking out 13 batters. She gave up 2 earned runs, walked 3 and hit one batter.
In game two Coppin State would get their first hit much quicker than they did in the first outing. The Eagles would start the game with a lead-off single, and they would eventually score that runner on an RBI groundout to take a 1-0 lead. The Retrievers would be unable to answer in the bottom of the first, as Coppin retired the side in order.
Coppin once again threatened to score in the top of the second as they were able to get two hits early, but freshman-pitcher Gillian McCarthy was able to work her way out of the jam by inducing a strikeout and a groundout. In the bottom of the inning, the Retrievers would be able to tie the game up on an RBI fielders choice.
The game was shaping up to be a pitchers duel until the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, Hawker launched a towering home run over the left field fence to give UMBC a 2-1 advantage. The Retrievers would be able to load the bases following the solo-shot, but Coppin would eventually work their way out of the jam.
McCarthy seemed to be on a roll as she headed into the top of the fifth inning. But, a lead-off single, followed by a moonshot of a home run to left field gave Coppin a 3-2 lead. McCarthy would eventually retire the side, despite a hard single that went straight back at her. The ball bounced off of her foot and hit her leg, and she went down in visible pain. Thankfully, she was able to recover, striking out the final batter.
The Retrievers would add 2 runs in the bottom of the fifth, and explode for 7 runs in the sixth to beat Coppin State by the mercy rule and complete the sweep of the double-header 11-3.
In game two, Pierce and Hawker both had phenomenal games. Pierce was a perfect 3/3 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI. Hawker was 2/4 with her home run and 3 RBI.
The Retrievers improve to 9-10 on the season following the two wins on Wednesday. They play next this weekend, with two split double-headers with UAlbany, and Robert Morris in the La Quinta Inn & Suites BWI classic.