Mid-Week Games at George Washington, Home to Coppin State Ahead for UMBC Baseball
BALTIMORE – After playing just one game in the last week, a 3-0 win at Coppin State on April 23, the UMBC baseball team returns to action this week with two mid-week contests. First, the Retrievers travel to Arlington, Va. to take on George Washington on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m., before returning to Alumni Filed for the return game against CSU on Wednesday evening.
The first 150 fans at Wednesday evening's game will receive free UMBC Baseball mini bats, courtesy of the UMBC Department of Athletics as a part of Fan Appreciation Week.
UMBC (11-18) saw its home game against GW cancelled last Tuesday due to inclement weather in the Baltimore area, but came out strong on Wednesday to shut out Coppin State, 3-0, at Joe Cannon Stadium. Junior Shane Vlasic (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) tossed six scoreless innings, striking out a career-high nine, before senior Stephen Chrzanowski (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora/Hagerstown CC) and sophomore Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) combined to complete the shut out. Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) connected for a two-out RBI triple in the fourth inning for what proved to be the game-winning run and sophomore Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) provided insurance with an RBI double in the eighth.
George Washington (13-23) dropped the weekend opener, but took the next two from UMass to claim the three-game Atlantic-10 series in Northern Virginia. The Colonials won each game by one run (3-2 and 5-4) to improve to 11-15 at Barcroft Park this season. UMBC and GW have not met this year as games scheduled for March 25 and April 15 were both rained out.
Coppin State (9-25) salvaged its four-game MEAC home series with Norfolk State on Saturday by shutting out the Spartans, 3-0, at Joe Cannon Stadium. NSU had previously swept the doubleheader on Friday and took the first game on Saturday, 7-5. Will Grebenstein twirled a seven-inning complete game, yielding just two hits and striking out six batters, to earn the win. The Eagles host Lehigh on Tuesday afternoon before making the short trip to Alumni Field.
Vlasic (2-1, 5.76 ERA) will start Tuesday's game on the road against the Colonials while the hosts are scheduled to start freshman right-hander Brandon Ritchie (1-1, 4.02 ERA). Vlasic has made one other appearance in his career against GW, throwing two innings during his freshman year in 2011.
The Retrievers will send Chrzanowski (0-1, 4.50) to the mound on Wednesday evening to make his third start of the season. The tall righty also started for the Black and Gold in staff outings against Maryland (March 19) and Navy (March 27). Last season, Chrzanowski started twice, including the series opener on the last weekend of the season in which he took the loss at Maine despite surrendering just one run in 6.1 innings of work. Coppin State has not announced its starter for the game.
Freshman Andrew Casali (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) went 0-for-3 against CSU last week to end his 14-game hit streak, but did lay down a sacrifice bunt in the eighth as the Retrievers went on to add two key insurance runs. The rookie outfielder is hitting .282 this season and is 9-for-11 in stolen base attempts this season.
Senior Owen Beightol continues to lead the Colonial attack with a .346 batting average, with 14 of his team-best 45 hits going for extra bases. Junior Ryan Xepoleas has also provided a threat at the plate for GW as the outfielder is hitting .333 with three triples and one home run.
Bryant Miranda picked up two of Coppin State's four hits last week against the Retrievers, but is hitting .241 for the season. The Eagles are batting .222 as a team this season and are 4-12 on the road in 2014.
- George Washington leads the all-time series with the Retrievers, 29-15, but the two teams split the season series last year with each team winning on the opponent's field.
- UMBC increased its lead in the all-time series over Coppin State to 42-1 with the win last Wednesday.
- The Retrievers are 5-4 at the friendly confines of Alumni Field this season, but 5-12 on the road.
- UMBC is currently in a five-game winning streak.
- The Retrievers stole four bases against the Eagles last week and have already swiped 48 bags this season, tying the 1987 and 2013 teams for the sixth-most stolen bases in a season in program history.