BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team added seven newcomers for the 2014 season, head coach Bob Mumma announced on Tuesday afternoon. Freshmen Corey Callahan (Sykesville, Md.), Mitchell Carroll (Oakton, Va.), Andrew Casali (New Canann, Conn.), Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y.), Connor Hax (Bowie, Md.), and sophomore Nick Naumann (Essex, Md.), along with junior college transfer Ryan Sliwak (Wantagh, N.Y.), are set to join a Retriever club which made an eight-win improvement in 2013, Mumma's second year in charge.
"Obviously the class isn't as big numbers wise, but we targeted a few specific positions and needs and I think we accomplished just that," said Mumma. "I'm excited for them to come in here and add depth for our ball club and to fill holes and weakness we had last season."
A 5-11 outfielder from New Canaan, Conn., Casali excelled as a prep athlete, earning Connecticut Player of the Year honors following his senior season in 2013. After missing his freshman year due to injury, he was named to the All-FCIAC East team as a shortstop, and was listed as an honorable mention on the All-State squad by the New Haven Register. Transitioning to the outfield for his junior year, he continued to thrive, earning All-FCIAC accolades after being listed as a Preseason First Team All-State player by ESPN High School News.
"He has a great opportunity to step in and play right away," coach Mumma said. "He has great speed and we hope he can become a potential top of the order guy."
Dolshun comes to Baltimore from Warwick, N.Y. where he starred for Warwick High, garnering All-State honors. A versatile athlete, Dolshun can play each of the corner infield positions, in addition to getting behind the plate to catch. In 2012, he helped lead the Wildcats to their first division title since 1996.
"Hunter's versatility to catch and play other positions will really help us to maximize our lineup," said Mumma. "We're also really excited about his ability offensively to be a middle of the order type hitter."
Hax was a three-time Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) All-Conference Selection at Bishop McNamara. He helped lead the Mustangs to the WCAC championships in 2012 and 2013, earning a spot on the All-Gazette First Team and Prince George's All-County Team while pitching and playing first base.
"He's a two-way guy who can fill two roles for us," Mumma said. "He has some power potential, but he really helps us to put the best team possible out on the field."
Sliwak joins the Retrievers from Nassau Community College where he played infield and outfield. In high school at Wantagh High, Sliwak was a two-time All-County selection and helped lead the Warriors to the state title game as a junior.
"He comes to campus with some great experience and should really help up with run production next season," said Mumma.
Callahan, a right-handed pitcher, Carroll, a middle infielder, and Naumann, an outfielder, joined the team as walk-ons this fall.
"Corey will add some depth and strength to our bullpen," Mumma said. "He commands two or three pitches really well and he'll be a guy who we can use both mid-week and over the weekend.
"Mitchell is an outstanding defender who will really give us some flexibility. We're excited for him to add some depth in the outfield and make our defense even stronger."
After a trying first season in charge, Mumma saw his Retriever club post 18 wins in 2013, the most since the team went 21-19 in 2008. The 2013 edition lowered its team ERA (4.78) over four points from the previous year (9.01) while the defense cut its miscues from 110 to 72 and improved its fielding percentage from .942 up to .961.
The UMBC baseball team opens its 2014 season with a three-game set at William and Mary from Feb. 28-March 2. The Retrievers then head to South Carolina for the Myrtle Beach Hyundai Classic before coming back to Maryland to play at UMES on March 12 and hosting Navy at Alumni Field on March 13.