BALTIMORE – Riding a seven-game win streak, the UMBC baseball team continues its home stand this weekend by welcoming league newcomer UMass Lowell to Alumni Field for a three-game series. The Retrievers and River Hawks will kick-off the weekend with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon, and then finish the set with a single game on Sunday, also set for a noon start.
Each of the three games will be streamed live and free-of-charge on UMBCRetrievers.tv, courtesy of the America East Digital Network.
The UMBC baseball team will be teaming with the Oriole Advocates this weekend to participate in the organization's annual Cardboard to Leather program. The Retrievers will be accepting donations of new and gently used baseball and softball gear on Sunday to be distributed on a need-based system to schools, orphanages, community groups and hospitals.
UMBC (13-18, 6-6 AE) sits third in the America East standings heading into the second half of conference play. The Retrievers dropped the opening league series to Albany (March 15-16), but leveled its AE record the next weekend by taking two of three from Maine (March 22-23). Two weeks later, UMBC was swept at Binghamton (April 5-6), but once again bounced back by sweeping all three games at Albany (April 12-13).
The Retrievers banged out nine hits and drew seven walks en route to a 6-5 win over local rival Coppin State, Wednesday night at Alumni Field, after rolling by George Washington, 8-2, on Tuesday. Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) went 4-for-4 against GW, hitting his first homer of the season and connecting for two RBI-doubles, and three Retrievers collected multi-hit games against the Eagles to push the team's win streak to seven games. UMBC had Easter weekend off after sweeping Albany in New York and then shutting out Coppin to start its streak.
The Black and Gold is 6-4 at the friendly confines of Alumni Field this season and has won each of its last three, and five of its last six, home games.
UMass Lowell (13-15, 5-6 AE) is on a three-game win streak after taking the final two games of last weekend's conference series against Stony Brook at home and then defeating Marist, 8-5, on Tuesday in New York. The River Hawks are 5-10 on the road this season.
Game one of the series will feature a pair of right-handers as sophomore Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) gets the call for UMBC and senior Shane Beauchemin (2-3, 5.10 ERA) heads to the mound for the River Hawks. Stephenson (2-3, 4.84 ERA) tossed a gem two weeks in the opener against Albany, pitching seven innings and yielding just two runs, one of which was unearned, while scattering seven hits to pick up his second win of the season.
Senior Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) gets the ball in the seven-inning second game and will be opposed by UMass Lowell senior Mike Calzetta (2-1, 2.75 ERA). Gill (1-3, 3.89 ERA) started the season with four straight quality starts, but had not fared as well in his last three outings. The veteran righty still leads the Retrievers in innings pitched (41.2) and ranks 15th in the nation in walks allowed per nine innings (0.86).
In the finale, UMBC hands the ball to sophomore left-hander Joe Vanderplas (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax/Tennessee) while the River Hawks will counter with junior righty Christian Lavoie (1-2, 2.93 ERA). Vanderplas (1-2, 2.47 ERA) has been the Retrievers' most consistent starter, making it through at lead six innings in five of his seven starts, including a six-inning stint against Albany on April 13 in which he shut out the Great Danes for his first Retriever win. The southpaw leads the UMBC staff with his 2.47 ERA and is holding opponents to a .233 batting average.
Freshman Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) returned to the Retriever lineup on Wednesday evening and collected a double and drawing a bases-loaded walk in five plate appearances. He leads UMBC with a .333 batting average while sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centrevill) has led the Retrievers during conference play and is hitting .330 against America East pitching.
Danny Mendick and Matt Mottola each went 3-for-4 for the River Hawks in their 8-5 win over Marist on Tuesday with Mendick scoring four runs. Mottola, who has played in 19 of UMass Lowell's 28 games, lead the lineup with a .364 average while Mendick is batting .330 and leads the team in runs scored (16) and runs-batted-in (20).
- This weekend's series will produce the first-ever meetings between the now-America East rivals.
- UMass Lowell will be the second opponent this season that the Retrievers will be playing for first time in the 48 years of UMBC baseball. (The Retrievers lost both contests to Elon).
- The Retrievers are 5-1 in night games, but 8-17 in games starting before 6:00 p.m.
- Wednesday night's win over Coppin State marked the first time this season that UMBC won despite giving up a home run.