BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball program has added 12 newcomers for the upcoming 2015 season, Retriever head coach Bob Mumma announced on Thursday afternoon. The Retrievers, who start fall practice in September, will welcome six pitchers, two catchers, two infielders, and two outfielders to the program.
"We knew that we needed to upgrade the pitching, and more specifically the pitching depth," said coach Mumma, who enters his fourth year in charge of his alma mater this fall. "I think we were able to accomplish that while also filling in some holes in the lineup with guys that can contribute right away."
Two of the biggest signings come by way of junior college in transfers Kevin Little (Weldon, Calif./Kern Valley/Taft College) and Conrad Wozniak (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Woods/Frank Phillips College). Little was selected as the Pitcher of the Year in the Central Valley Conference in 2014 while Wozniak earned a spot on the NJCAA All-Conference First Team for Region V.
"We're excited to bring in two guys with excellent experience at a high JuCo level, in Kevin and Conrad," coach Mumma remarked about the two signees. "I think they will be able to step in right away and help us solidify our rotation."
"With Tim and Connor coming in, that really shores up our bullpen, especially at the back end," the Retriever skipper added.
Freshmen Matt Chanin (Olney, Md./Sherwood) and Michael Kirschbaum (Commerce, Mich./Walled Lake Northern) are expected to provide solid innings as rookies. Chanin played for the Diamond Pros showcase team while Kirschbaum tossed for the Oakland (Mich.) Reds.
"Matt really came on during his senior year and if he continues to progress, he will push himself into a key spot for us," Mumma noted. "I expect Michael to be a quality arm out of the bullpen for our team and help provide solid depth."
The new corps of pitchers will have a pair of fresh faces to throw to as well as rookies Dylan Evert (Bristol, Pa./Bristol) and Zach Bright (Fairfax Station, Va./TC Williams) compete for time behind the plate. Evert comes to UMBC from one of the premier showcase teams in New Jersey, the Tri-State Arsenal, while Bright previously played with the Demarini Stars.
UMBC also added quality position players in Jamie Switalski (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and Brady Zinda (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton), whom coach Mumma figures will have a quick impact on the Retriever lineup come spring. Switalski, an infielder, has plied his trade recently with the Pittsburgh Diamond Dawgs, while Zinda comes to UMBC after competing with Bright for the Demarini Stars.
"Jamie looks like a middle of the order kind of guy with legitimate power potential, and should really help us compete in the America East," Mumma reflected. "Brady is a quality outfielder who will probably bat at the top of our order, get on base, and steal some bags with his speed."
In addition, freshman outfielder Chris Convers (Poolesville, Md./Poolesville) and rookie infielder Nick Loiodice (Forest Hill, Md./Bel Air) will bring athleticism to a team which has trended up under the guidance of Mumma.
"Chris is a great athlete with good bat speed and he should be a fun player to watch develop in the next few years," coach Mumma predicted. "Nick is a local kid who should bring us some intangibles that will just help us be a better team all around."
UMBC picks up fall activities with practices in Mid-September, before scrimmaging local rival Navy on Friday, Oct. 3 at Alumni Field and wrapping up the session in mid-October.