Vanderplas and Mikush Stymie Maine Bats, Smith Delivers Game-Winning Hit in 12-Inning Season Finale Win for UMBC
ORONO, Maine – Starter Joe Vanderplas (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax/Tennessee) and sophomore Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) held Maine to just one run on six hits and senior D.J. Smith (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) dumped an RBI single to right-center with two down in the top of the 12th to score junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) as the UMBC baseball team downed the host Blacks Bears, 2-1, in extra-innings, Sunday at Mahaney Diamond.
The game marks the end of the 2014 season for UMBC which finishes the year 17-29 overall and 7-17 in America East play. Maine wraps up the regular season with a 24-27 overall mark and 10-11 record in conference play. The Black Bears will play in the America East Tournament later this week.
Vanderplas continued his quality late-season work, tossing a full nine innings while limiting the previously hot Maine bats to just one unearned run on five hits. The southpaw, who held the Black Bears scoreless until the eighth, struck out five while issuing just one walk. Mikush (2-3) entered to start the tenth and gave up just one hit to earn his second win of the season. He fanned three batters over the course of his three innings.
Junior lefty Steve Trask (0-1) made his first start of the year for Maine and equaled Vanderplas in regulation, yielding one run on a two-out RBI double by sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) in the top of the sixth. Trask took the loss, however, as he worked into extras where he surrendered Barnes' two-out two-bagger to left and then Smith's looping single to right-center.
The pitchers' duel was underway early in the Pine Tree State as the two lefties combined to allow just four batters to reach base in the first five innings. UMBC finally made a breakthrough against Trask in the sixth, though, with senior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) pulling one of his two hits on the day into right field with two outs. Lachance then cashed in on the Retrievers' first opportunity of the day by yanking a double to left to score McCabe all the way from first.
Vanderplas made the lead stand up, sending the Black Bears down in order in the bottom of the inning, and then again in the seventh.
The Retrievers looked to add to their lead in the top of the eighth as senior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) drew a walk, McCabe singled, and Lachance reached on an infield chopper, all with two outs. Trask was able to keep Maine in it, however, getting a ground out to end the threat.
The Black Bear offense answered the call in the bottom half as Kyle Silva reached on a one-out error before being lifted for pinch runner Sam Balzano, who took second on a ground out. Following a walk, Colin Gay rattled a single to left and Balzano came around to score to level the game at 1-1. Maine made a bid to end it in regulation in the ninth, but Vanderplas stranded to runners on base to send the game to extra innings.
Neither team got anything going in the tenth, but both UMBC and Maine left runners on in the 11th.
Then, in the 12th, Barnes lashed a two-out double off the left field fence, and Smith followed by slapping a single to right-center to bring in the outfielder with the go-ahead run.
Mikush closed out the hosts quickly in the bottom half, getting a ground out to short, strike out, and fly out to center to close out the win.
- The Retrievers have now won four of the last seven games against Maine to cut the Black Bears' lead in the all-time series to 39-7.
- The two teams split the season series, 3-3, with each team winning two games on its home field.
- UMBC's three wins against Maine this season are the most for the club against the Black Bears in 11 seasons in the America East.
- UMBC has now won its season finale two years in a row, both coming at Maine. Prior to 2013, the Retrievers had lost seven straight finales.
- The Retrievers played only two extra-inning games this season, defeating Maine in 12 innings on both occasions (March 23, 7-6 in Baltimore; May 18, 2-1 in Orono).
- Mikush finishes the season with a team-best 33 strike outs.
- Dolshun is the second consecutive true freshman to lead UMBC in hitting, completing the season with a .304 average (2013 – Kevin Lachance).