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Baseball Hosts Maine for Friday Doubleheader to Open 2012 America East Schedule
Head Coach Bob Mumma
BALTIMORE, Md. – The UMBC baseball team (7-17) opens America East play this weekend with a four-game set against defending league champion Maine starting on Friday. The Retrievers and Black Bears will play a pair of doubleheaders, with the games on Friday beginning at 1 p.m. at the Baseball Factory Field at UMBC and Saturday’s twin bill scheduled to start at 12 p.m.
UMBC last played on Tuesday, losing at Georgetown, 7-1. Senior third baseman Curtis Schickner (East Windsor, N.J./Lawrenceville Prep) went 2-for-3 and scored the Retrievers’ lone run in the loss.
In Friday’s opener, senior Steve Miller (Newark, Del./Dickinson) will take the ball for the Retrievers. The veteran right-hander is 0-4 this season with a 5.79 ERA. In his last start, on Saturday at Longwood, Miller gave up three runs on five hits while taking the loss. He also struck out a season-high five batters in the game.
Freshman Kevin Ladner (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) will make his first career start for the Retrievers in Friday’s twilight contest. The rookie has made five appearances this season, posting a team-best 1.35 ERA over 6.2 innings of work. In Tuesday’s game against Georgetown, Ladner threw one scoreless inning, yielding just two hits.
On Saturday, sophomore Shane Vlasic (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) takes the mound to kick-off the second doubleheader. The righty is 2-3 this season after taking the loss on Sunday at Longwood. Against the Lancers, Vlasic gave up all five runs, but struck out a season-best five batters. Earlier in the week he earned the win for UMBC after pitching seven innings and yielding only two runs at Mount St. Mary’s.
In the series finale on Saturday afternoon, sophomore Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) will start for UMBC. The right-hander is 1-2 this season with a starting staff-best 2.22 ERA through 24.1 innings. Gill started Tuesday’s game against the Hoyas, throwing three scoreless innings and earning a no decision.
The two teams met four times last year as well, with the Black Bears claiming all four games on their home turf in Orono. On Saturday, Maine shutout UMBC, 4-0 in the opener and then pushed past the Retrievers, 11-5, in the nightcap. On Sunday, the hosts pulled off a 6-1 win in the first game, and then squeaked by 3-2 in the finale.
UMBC is 3-26 all-time against Maine and has lost 12 straight games against the Black Bears. The Retrievers picked up two of those wins in a four-game series split in Baltimore back in April 2008. In that series, the visitors won the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, 6-3, before the Retrievers fought back with a convincing 21-8 win in the second game. Maine then clipped UMBC, 7-4, on Sunday but the Retrievers edged the Black Bears, 4-2, in the finale on Monday.
UMBC is coming off a stretch in which it played 13 of 15 games away from home. During that time, the Retrievers went 5-10, claiming a three-game sweep at Coppin State in addition picking up wins at Tulane and Mount St. Mary’s.
A trio of seniors has led the Retrievers offense this season, which has also received some production from a group of freshman. Outfielder Brian Klukowicz (Clifton, Md./St. Peter’s Prep) (.436) and Schickner (.318) lead the squad with batting averages over .300. Klukowicz has also driven in a team-best 16 runs and is tied with freshman Ian Glassman (Basking Ridge, N.J./Rutgers Prep) with seven extra base hits.
First baseman Max Himmelstein (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) ieads UMBC and is second in the America East with four homeruns this season. Klukowicz and junior Tom Gilchrist (Olney, Md./Sherwood/Chesapeake CC) have both hit two round trippers this season.
- The Retrievers are 2-6 in America East Conference Opening Games. They have alternated wins and losses each of the last five seasons after last season’s loss to Binghamton.
- UMBC is 4-1 when hitting one homerun in a game this season, but 0-2 when hitting two or more homeruns.
- Klukowicz has reached base in each of the 14 games he has appeared in. He currently has a streak in which he has reached base in 20 straight games, dating back to the 2011 season.
- Schickner is batting a team-best .438 (7-for-16) with runners in scoring position.