Gilchrist’s Single Pushes UMBC Past George Mason, 11-10, for Walk-off Win

Senior Tom Gilchrist
Senior Tom Gilchrist

BALTIMORE – Senior outfielder Tom Gilchrist (Olney, Md./Sherwood/Chesapeake CC) drove a two-out single up the middle to bring around sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) with the winning run as the UMBC baseball team walked off with an 11-10 win over George Mason, Wednesday evening at Alumni Field. 

The win snaps a seven-game slide for UMBC (9-18) while George Mason (13-25) has now lost three straight and 13 of its last 14 games.

After the Patriots tied the game with a run in the top of the ninth, Barnes led off the Retrievers' half by blooping a single to short right field.  A strikeout and a fly out left the infielder still on first, but he managed to swipe second with Gilchrist batting.  Now with a runner in scoring position, Gilchrist shot a 3-1 pitch right back up the box to drive Barnes home.

The game was marked by offense as the two teams combined for 21 runs on 31 hits and drawing nine walks.  Senior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) led UMBC with a 5-for-6 day at the plate while Barnes and Gilchrist each laced three hits.  Sophomore Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) and freshman Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) also recorded multi-hit games.

Eight of Mason's nine starters picked up at least one hit in the game with Josh Leemhuis going 3-for-5 and Tucker Tobin notching a 2-for-5 game.

The visitors got on the board almost immediately in the top of the first against UMBC starter Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro).  Tommy Vitaletti led off the game with a triple to deep left-centerfield and came home as the next batter, Derek Evans, hit a fly ball deep enough to right for him to score.  Stephenson lasted 5.1 innings in the game and was in line for the win until the Patriots knotted the game in the ninth. 

UMBC pressured in the bottom of the first, but had to wait until the second to make a breakthrough.  Following a strikeout, Gilchrist walked on a 3-1 pitch and two batters later went to third on a hot shot up the middle by Esposito.  As the lineup turned over, Gilchrist scored on a wild pitch and then McCabe singled through the right-side to put the Retrievers on top.

Two innings later, the Black and Gold broke the game open with a three-run fourth inning to take a 5-1 lead.  With the bases loaded, Corbi lined a single up the middle to score two, but McCabe was cut down at the plate.  A ground out and a wild pitch put Corbi on third and the sophomore came into score on a throwing error off a batted ball by Barnes.

Stephenson held the Patriots off the board again in the fifth and his lineup rewarded him further with another run on an RBI-double down the left field line by Esposito to make the score 6-1.

Mason made its first push in the top of the sixth as Blaise Fernandez and Tobin hit back-to-back doubles to plate one run.  Stephenson was able to induce a ground out to put one away, but then walked the next two hitters before he was pulled.  Freshman Cam Maxey (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) entered and after a bouncing ball got through to right field to cut the lead to 6-4, he got help from his defense as McCabe made a sliding catch in right and then doubled off the runner on second to end the threat.

Freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) led off the bottom of the frame with a double to right-center to spark a four-run inning for the Retrievers and extend the lead to six, 10-4.  Barnes followed with a single to left and sophomore Ian Glassman (Basking Ridge, N.J./Rutgers Prep) knocked in Lachance with a sac fly.  With one down, sophomore Anthony Gatto (Hauppauge, N.Y./Smithtown West) ripped a double to center and Barnes scored all the way from first.  The first baseman then stole third and cruised home as Gilchrist went the other way for a triple to right. McCabe capped the scoring with a single to center to bring in Gilchrist.

The lead was not completely safe, however, as Mason rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh to cut the lead to just one, 10-9, and looked to take the lead.  But with runners on second and third and just one out, sophomore Kevin Ladner (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) came on in relief and got out of the jam by getting Jordan Hill to line out to short and fanning Vitaletti.

UMBC went scoreless in its next two at-bats, allowing George Mason to complete the comeback with a two-out RBI-single to left in the top of the ninth.

Barnes and Gilchrist then stepped up and capped their nights with the heroics to give the Retrievers their second walk-off win of the year.

UMBC now travels to Binghamton for a three-game America East series this weekend.  The Retrievers and Bearcats will play a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday in Vestal, N.Y.

DAWG BITES

-          UMBC's win snaps Mason's two-game win streak in the series and cuts the Patriots lead to 43-14 in the all-time series.

-          The teams had not played since 2010 and UMBC had not defeated George Mason since May 4, 2005 (5-1).

-          The Retrievers remain perfect (6-0) when leading after eight innings this spring.

-          McCabe's five hits are the most for a Retriever in a single game in the last five years.

-          Corbi has now hit safely in four straight games, the last three of which have all been multi-hit efforts.

-          Barnes is 7-for-10 in the last two games.