Mikush and Cohn Combine for Shutout as Baseball Takes Series from Binghamton

Junior Jon Cohn
Junior Jon Cohn

BALTIMORE – UMBC freshman Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) and junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) combined to throw a five-hit shutout as the Retrievers took game two of Sunday's doubleheader, 2-0, at Alumni Field and clinch the America East series two games to one over visiting Binghamton.

Earlier in the day, Binghamton (9-6, 1-2 AE) had rallied to defeat the Retrievers 17-11 to level the series at a game apiece.

Sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) went 5-for-7 at the plate on the day for UMBC (4-6, 2-1 AE), driving in three runs for the Retrievers.  Junior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) also notched two multi-hit games and finished 4-for-8 in the twin bill.

Making his first appearance in a UMBC uniform, Mikush faced the minimum nine batters in three innings of work.  The rookie right-hander gave up just a lead-off double to start the third, but Reed Gamache was caught in a run-down trying to take third and was eventually tagged out.  With Mikush on a pitch-count, Cohn (1-1) entered in the fourth and preserved the shutout to earn his first win of the season.

Binghamton starter Jay Lynch (1-2) took the loss despite surrendering just one earned run on eight hits.

With Mikush out of the game, the Bearcats threatened in Cohn's first inning, putting men on first and third with two outs.  The veteran got out of the jam, however, forcing Jordon Smucker to fly out to center to end the inning. 

The Retrievers backed up the pitching in the bottom half with sophomore Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) leading off with a single down the left field line.  He moved to third as the next batter, Coluccio lofted a single into right and following a strikeout, he scored as Barnes lined a single through the left-side to put the hosts up 1-0.

That was all Cohn would need as he continued to work out of any trouble Binghamton could present.

After a three-up, three-down inning for the visitors in the top of the fifth, UMBC extended the lead to 2-0 as senior Tom Gilchrist (Olney, Md./Sherwood/Chesapeake CC) singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a sac bunt by freshman Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional), and scored on a throwing error.

Binghamton put runners on in each of the final two frames, but both times Cohn induced ground outs to preserve the lead and pick up the win. 

The visitors knotted the series earlier in the day by scoring six runs in the top of the ninth, to break an 11-11 tie.  The teams combined for 28 runs and 35 hits in the game, which was originally scheduled to be a seven-inning contest.

After the Retrievers scored eight unearned runs with two outs in the second inning, Binghamton responded with four runs in the third to pull back within one run, 8-7.  The Bearcats tied the score with a solo run in the top of the sixth and took the lead with three more in the seventh.

UMBC would not go quietly, however, and despite being down to its last strike, managed to come back and force extra innings.  Freshman Manny Colon (Williamstown, N.J./Buena Regional) started the rally with a single to left, and was pinch run for by freshman Jesse Smith (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) following a foul out and a strike out.  Junior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) then doubled to left-center to give the Retrievers runners on second and third, and freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) followed by lining a 2-0 pitch off the left field wall to bring both runners home and make the score 11-10.  Then down to their last strike, the Retrievers received extra life as Corbi lashed a 3-2 pitch to the left-centerfield gap to bring in Lachance with the tying run.

It was not to be, though, as the Bearcats regrouped and sent six men across the plate in the ninth for the win.

UMBC returns to action on Wednesday, Mar. 20 to take on Towson in a make-up game originally schedule for Mar. 6.  First pitch between the Retrievers and Tigers is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Schuerholz Park.

DAWG BITES

-          The series win is the first for UMBC against Binghamton in ten years of America East play.

-          The Bearcats now lead the all-time series with the Retrievers 35-8.

-          UMBC and Binghamton will meet again Apr. 20-21 in a three-game series in Vestal, N.Y.

-          This is UMBC's first series win since taking of three of four from Hartford Apr. 10-11, 2010. That was also the last time the Retrievers' won their first conference series of the year.

-          The shutout is the Retrievers' first since blanking NJIT, 5-0, on Mar. 19, 2009.

-          The Retriever staff struck out three batters in each game on Sunday to push their streak to 76 straight games with at least one K.  This year UMBC pitchers have notched multiple strike outs in nine out of ten games.

-          Gilchrist recorded a hit in both games on Sunday to extend his streak to 11-straight games reaching base for the Retrievers. 

-          Freshman Mike Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) matched his career-high with three innings of work in game one.

-          McCabe went 3-for-5 in game 1 and 1-for-3 in game 2 and has now hit safely in seven-consecutive games.

-          Cohn's four innings of work are a season-high.  Final line: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

-          Mikush was no-decisioned in his first outing.  Final line: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

-          Junior Bobby Applegate (Somerdale, N.J./Sterling/Gloucester County College) had his shortest outing of the season, throwing two innings in game one.