BALTIMORE – Coming off of back-to-back mid-week road wins, the UMBC baseball team returns to Alumni Field to open its final home stand of the season, beginning Friday against America East rival Stony Brook. The Retrievers and Seawolves will play a doubleheader at 3:00 p.m. to start the series, and then meet for a single on Saturday, starting at 12:00 p.m.
All of the action can be seen live, free-of-charge on UMBCRetrievers.tv, courtesy of the America East Digital Network.
Prior to the game on Saturday, UMBC will honor its five seniors – Stephen Chrzanowksi, Brandon Coluccio, Mac Gill, Rob McCabe, and D.J. Smith – in addition to juniors Jon Cohn, Luke Seppi and Shane Vlasic.
UMBC (15-24, 6-12 AE) stopped a six-game skid with a 13-8 come-from-behind win at Towson on Tuesday, and then used a career outing from senior Stephen Chrzanowski (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora/Hagerstown CC) to hold off Georgetown, 4-3, on Wednesday. Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) and freshman Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) each went yard against the Tigers before Chrzanowski struck out 11 Hoyas over eight innings for his first win of the season.
The Retrievers sit sixth in the America East entering the second-to-last weekend of the season. They are percentage points behind Maine, whom they play next weekend, for the final spot in the conference tournament.
The Black and Gold is 6-7 at the friendly confines of Alumni Field this season, but have not played at home since being swept by UMass Lowell on April 26-27. Prior to that series, UMBC had won three straight at home, taking single games from UMES, Delaware State, and Coppin State.
Stony Brook (28-15, 13-4 AE) pounded out a season-best 19 hits and exploded for 15 runs in a 15-4 win at NYIT on Wednesday afternoon. Kevin Courtney, who leads the Seawolves with a .353 batting average, hit for the cycle and went 5-for-6 at the plate with four RBI and three runs scored.
The Seawolves have already locked up a spot in the conference tournament and sit atop the America East standings along with Hartford. The teams split a two-game set earlier in the year and close the season against each other next weekend on Long Island. Stony Brook is 10-10 in away games in 2014.
Game one will pit Retriever sophomore Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) and Seawolf senior Franki Vanderka (2-4, 2.68 ERA). Stephenson (2-5, 6.02 ERA) struggled in his last start at Hartford, but previously tossed his first career complete game, a nine-inning effort, against UMass Lowell on April 26. He also limited Albany to two runs, one earned, over seven innings on April 12 to defeat the Great Danes.
In game two, a pair of senior right-handers will take the mound as Mac Gill (Bethesda, Ma./Walter Johnson) goes for the Retrievers and Brandon McNitt (5-1, 2.94 ERA) works for the Seawolves. Gill (1-5, 4.67 ERA) leads the UMBC staff in innings pitched (52.0) and as of May 4, ranks 12th in the nation in walks per nine innings pitched (0.87).
Sophomore left-hander Joe Vanderplas (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax/Tennessee) will get the ball for UMBC in the finale and will be opposed by southpaw Tyler Honahan (6-2, 3.04 ERA). Vanderplas (1-2, 3.58 ERA) has gone 6.0 innings or more in six of his nine starts during his first season with the Retrievers, including last weekend at Hartford, but was no-decisioned as he left in a tie ball game.
Dolshun went 2-for-3 against Georgetown, with a sac fly and run scored, to bring his team-leading average up to .324 this season. The versatile rookie has hit three homers this season and is tied for second on the team with 18 RBI. Sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) has paced the Retriever offense in conference play, hitting .313 with eight stolen bases and 15 runs scored.
Courtney is slugging .486 for the Seawolves and has connected for 13 doubles, two triples, and two long balls this season. Kevin Krause has launched seven bombs this spring, including two against NYIT, and is tied with Courtney with a team-leading 37 RBI.
- Stony Brook took both series between the clubs last year, winning two of three both times, to improve to 39-9 all-time vs. UMBC. All but one of the meetings have come in regular season play as the teams met during the 2008 conference tournament.
- Lachance went hit .500 (12-for-24) in six games against Stony Brook last season and also swiped four bags.
- Senior Rob McCabe is a career .324 hitter (13-for-37) against the Seawolves.
- Lachance and freshman Andrew Casali have both reached base safely in 10 consecutive games.
- The Retrievers' 13 strike outs on Wednesday night matched the second-highest total for the staff under head coach Bob Mumma. The UMBC staff struck out 19 in a 14-inning game at Hartford on April 6, 2013.