Long Ball Sparks Wild Rally as UMBC Defeats Towson, 13-8
TOWSON, Md. – Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) and freshman Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) each went deep and junior Jonny Dierks (Easton, Md./Independence/Fort Scott) pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief as the UMBC baseball team rallied past Towson for a wild 13-8 victory, Tuesday afternoon at Schuerholz Park.
All nine position starters scored at least one run as UMBC (14-24) banged out a season-high 18 hits in the win. Towson (20-23) led 6-1 after scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth, but Tiger pitchers allowed two runs in the sixth and then five runs in both the seventh and ninth innings as the Retrievers battled back for the win.
Dolshun and sophomore Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) each collected four hits in the game while Barnes went 2-for-6 with a team-best three RBI. Senior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep), meanwhile, registered a three-hit game with sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) and senior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) each notching multi-hit games with two hits apiece.
Dierks (2-2) entered with one out and a man on second in the bottom of the fifth and helped prevent further damage by getting a fly out and strike out after issuing a walk. Sophomore Michael Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) gave up two runs in the ninth, but tossed three innings for UMBC to earn his first save of the season.
Greg Baruka started for Towson and pitched five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits before being pulled. Matt Allen then came on to start the sixth and promptly surrendered two runs on Barnes' long ball as the Retrievers started their comeback. Kyle Paul (1-3) ended up taking the loss for the hosts after allowing eight runs, four earned, on eight hits over the final three frames.
The Retrievers got on the board in their first at-bats as junior Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) drew a two-out walk and then Esposito yanked a single down the left field line sending Corbi to third. Barnes then roped a double down the third base line to chase Corbi home with the opening run.
Towson answered in the bottom half of the inning, however, tying the game early with a single to center by Kurt Wertz, scoring Dominic Fratantuono.
Both starters looked good in the second and third, allowing just a hit apiece to the opposing lineup. UMBC looked to break the tie in the top of the fourth, but left the bases loaded. The hosts took advantage of the situation in the home half as Colin Dyer pulled a single to left to plate Brendan Butler with the go-ahead run.
The Retrievers left another runner on base in the fifth and Towson once again made them pay, scoring four times, three of which came on a home run to left center by Brady Policelli.
UMBC responded in the bottom half, as Dolshun and Coluccio laced back-to-back singles to center to knock out Baruka. The rally continued as McCabe slapped a double to left to score Dolshun and push Coluccio to third. Freshman Conor Hax (Bowie, Md./Bishop McNarama) then reached on a fielder's choice and Lachance followed with a bases-loaded walk to push Coluccio across and cut the Towson lead to 6-3.
Dierks allowed two hits, but no runs in the bottom of the sixth, and the Retriever offense rewarded the effort in the top of the seventh. Esposito led off with a single and then Barnes smashed his second home run of the year, two-run shot to left, trimming the lead to one, 6-5.
That was all for Allen, but the Retrievers continued the comeback immediately against Paul with Dolshun ripping a single to left. Coluccio then drew a walk and a failed sacrifice bunt sent him to second, but erased Dolshun. A wild pitch put runners on second and third with one out and Hax struck out, but the ball got away, allowing him to reach first and Coluccio to score to tie the game at 6-6. Another wild pitch brought McCabe in from third for the go-ahead run and sent Hax to second, and then Lachance doubled in Hax to finish the scoring the inning and give UMBC an 8-6 lead.
Gomez entered after the seventh-inning stretch and sent the Tigers down in order. The Retrievers loaded the sacks in the top of the eighth with two down, but could not add to their lead. Gomez recorded another three-up, three-down inning to follow and allow the UMBC offense to add insurance runs.
The Retrievers scored five more times in the top of the ninth, punctuated by a two-run opposite field home run by Dolshun.
Towson got two back in the last of the ninth on a homer by Spencer Sutton, but Gomez struck out four in a row – Policelli reach on a passed ball – to end the game and give the Retrievers the win.
UMBC now travels to play Georgetown on Wednesday night at Shirley Povich Field before hosting Stony Brook for a three-game series at Alumni Field beginning on Friday.
- The win for UMBC stops a three-game losing streak to Towson in the series and cuts the Tigers' lead in the all-time series to 47-36-1.
- The Retrievers last won at Towson on April 22, 2003, a 6-0 victory.
- UMBC is now 5-2 against in-state opponents this season (2-0 vs. Coppin State; 0-1 vs. Maryland; 1-0 vs. UMES; 1-1 vs. Navy; 1-0 vs. Towson).
- The Retrievers have now hit multiple home runs in back-to-back games.
- UMBC's previous season-high for hits was 15, set twice (at Elon – March 10; vs. Maine – March 23).
- The Retrievers' 13 runs mark the second-highest offensive output of the season. UMBC scored 17 in a win over Delaware State on April 9.
- Gomez recorded four saves as a freshman in 2013 to bring his career total up to five, the fourth-highest total in school history.
- Esposito stole second in the eighth inning to bring UMBC's total up to 57 for the season.