BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team hosts an America East rival for the second straight weekend as Maine comes to Alumni Field for a three-game series this weekend. The Retrievers and Black Bears are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 3:00 p.m. and then finish the weekend with a single game at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Each of the three games will be broadcast free-of-charge on UMBCRetrievers.tv, courtesy of the America East Digital Network.
UMBC (3-9, 1-2 AE) played in-state Maryland for the first time since 2010 on Wednesday, but fell to the Terps, 6-0, in a rain-soaked game at Harford Community College. Reigning America East Rookie of the Week Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) went 1-for-3 in the mid-week contest after hitting .385 (5-for-13) with two home runs and five RBI in four games the previous week.
Maine (7-14) will be kicking off its 2014 America East schedule this weekend after playing 21 non-conference games to begin the year. The Black Bears wrapped up their trip to Florida on Sunday, March 16 with a 13-1 loss to North Dakota State, after splitting two games on Saturday against Bowling Green (W, 14-5) and Evansville (L, 7-9).
Sophomore Joe Vanderplas (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax/Tennessee) will get the ball for the Retrievers in the series opener and will be opposed by Maine senior right-hander Tommy Lawrence (1-4, 6.10 ERA). Vanderplas (0-1, 2.65 ERA) received a no-decision last weekend against Albany after tossing four innings and giving up just one run on five hits. The southpaw struck out one while not issuing a free pass.
Game two of the twin bill will feature a matchup of senior right-handers as Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) heads to the mound for UMBC and Shaun Coughlin (1-1, 3.86 ERA) throws for Maine. Gill (0-1, 1.74) tossed 8.1 innings last week against the Great Danes, but also earned a no-decision as the guests tied the game in the ninth inning before UMBC won it on a walk-off hit in the bottom half. The veteran righty leads the UMBC club with 20.1 innings pitched this season.
In the finale, sophomore righty Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) will throw for the Black and Gold while junior southpaw Scott Heath (2-2, 5.84 ERA) takes to the mound for the Black Bears. Stephenson (1-1, 1.93) did not allow an earned run against Albany last weekend over the course of 5.1 innings, but also took a no-decision as the Danes rallied for the win. Stephenson fanned three batters last Sunday and leads the Retrievers' staff with nine K's this season.
Sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) picked up another hit on Wednesday and leads UMBC with a .327 batting average (16-for-49) which ranks tied for seventh in the conference. The second-year shortstop has also driven in four runs and scored five while connecting for two doubles.
Dolshun and outfielder Andrew Casali (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) both had successful America East debuts last weekend against Albany. Casali drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off win in game one, while Dolshun went 4-for-10 at the plate which included a lead-off homerun, his second career round-tripper.
Senior Troy Black is leading the conference with a .404 batting average (36-for-89). The infielder was named the America East Player of the Week on Monday after collecting a hit in each of Maine's six contests (.464 average), in addition to scoring six runs and driving in five.
Classmate Colin Gay has also been a major player for the Maine offense in the early going and is hitting .381 (32-for-84) with 12 doubles.
UMBC won the final game of the season against Maine to stop a 21-game win streak in the series by the Black Bears. Maine leads the all-time series with the Retrievers, 36-4, and has won nine of the ten season series between the two clubs. Maine and UMBC split a four-game set in Baltimore in 2008.
- UMBC is hitting .556 (10-for-18) with runners on second and third and less than two outs.
- Retriever lead-off batters are hitting .299 (32-for-107) this season.
- Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) has hit .300 (9-for-30) with three doubles and one home run in nine career games against Maine.