BALTIMORE – After closing out the home schedule with an 8-5 win over Georgetown on Tuesday evening, the UMBC baseball team travels to America East rival Maine to close out the 2014 regular season. The Retrievers and Black Bears are set to play a doubleheader beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Friday at Mahaney Diamond, before closing the regular season with a single game on Saturday.
UMBC (16-27, 6-15 AE) finished its home schedule with the victory over the Hoyas behind multi-hit games from junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) and freshman Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) and six effective innings from junior starter Shane Vlasic (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run). Barnes' two hits were the 100th and 101st of his career, as the outfielder became just the third active Retriever with 100 or more hits in his career.
The Retrievers are 8-15 in road games this season, but have won seven of their last 10 away from Alumni Field. Last week, UMBC traveled to Towson and Georgetown, picking up a victory on each trip.
Maine (22-26, 8-10 AE) clinched the final spot in the 2014 America East tournament by taking two of three from Albany last weekend, and then handled Boston College, 12-3, in a mid-week game in Sanford, Maine. The Black Bears knocked around the BC staff for 17 hits as all but one position starter in the lineup collected a multi-hit game. The No. 7-9 hitters were particularly productive, going a combined 6-for-11 with five RBI and six runs scored.
The Black Bears are 8-5 at home this season after winning the conference series against the Great Danes last weekend in Orono.
The opening game of the series will feature a pair of senior right-handers as Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) gets the ball for UMBC and Tommy Lawrence (7-4, 3.38 ERA) goes for the hosts. Gill (1-6, 5.46 ERA) will be making the 34th start of his three-year career for the Retrievers which ranks tied for eighth in the school record book. His complete-game effort back on March 22 helped UMBC level the series with Maine.
In game two, sophomore Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) will look to continue his strong end of the season run while Maine will counter with junior lefty Scott Heath (2-2, 4.79 ERA). Stephenson (2-6, 5.80) tossed eight innings in his last start against Stony Brook and has made it through at least five innings in four of his five America East starts.
In the finale, sophomore left-hander Joe Vanderplas (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax/Tennessee) will head to the bump for the Retrievers and senior southpaw Steve Trask (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will work for the Black Bears. Vanderplas (1-3, 3.91 ERA) pitched two scoreless innings against the Seawolves but was undone by the 55-minute rain delay in the bottom of the second. In conference play, the lefty has struck out 17 while issuing just six walks in seven starts.
The two teams met for a three-game series at Alumni Field in Baltimore back on March 22-23 with the Retrievers taking the final two games of the set to win their first-ever series against the Black Bears. After Lawrence pitched Maine to a 4-1 victory in the opener, Gill tossed a complete game to earn UMBC the doubleheader split on Saturday. In the finale on Sunday, the Retrievers rallied for two runs in the ninth to send the game to extras, where they earned the 7-6 win in 12 innings.
Dolshun was named the America East Rookie of the Week for the second time this season on Monday and then registered two hits against Georgetown to lift his team-leading batting average to .315. The versatile catcher/infielder has smashed three home runs as a rookie and knocked in 22 runs. Senior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) has been hot for the Retrievers as of late, after going 5-for-9 last weekend against Stony Brook to lead UMBC in conference play with a .304 average.
Maine has five hitters batting over .300, led by Heath (.324), who plays the infield, in addition to pitching. Troy Black has also put together a productive season for the Black Bears, hitting .320 with 22 RBI and 27 runs scored, while also stealing 14 bases.
- This is the second consecutive year that the Retrievers are finishing the regular season at Maine.
- UMBC has won three of the last four meetings between the two clubs.
- The Retrievers are 9-6 when scoring at least six runs.
- UMBC's 7-6 win in 12 innings against Maine on March 23 lasted four hours and four minutes, the longest game for the team this season. The Retrievers' longest nine-inning game came during a 17-5 win over Delaware State on April 9 which lasted three hours and 30 minutes.
- McCabe has the longest active hitting streak for the Retrievers, collecting at least one hit in five consecutive games.