Hartford Sweeps UMBC with 6-1 Win in Series Finale

Freshman Kevin Lachance
Freshman Kevin Lachance

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Freshman shortstop Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) extended his hit streak to nine-straight games with a third-inning single, but the UMBC baseball team could not muster a rally until late and lost the America East series finale, 6-1, to Hartford, Sunday afternoon at Fiondella Field.

Lachance went 1-for-3 on the day while senior Tom Gilchrist (Olney, Md./Sherwood/Chesapeake CC) earned his first multi-hit game since the season-opener vs. N.C. State with a 2-for-3 effort.

Hartford starter Sean Newcomb (3-3) was in control early and often, helping the Hawks complete the series sweep.  The sophomore lefty struck out seven batters while allowing just one run on three hits.

Making his first start of the season for UMBC (8-14, 4-8 AE), junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) gave up three earned runs on six hits in 3.1 innings of work in the losing effort (2-2).

After the Retrievers went scoreless in the top of the first, Hartford (8-19, 7-5 AE) took advantage of the opening and got on the board on a passed ball for an early 1-0 lead.

Neither team could get much going in the early going, failing to score in both the second and third frames.  In the fourth, the Hawks gave their starter all the support he needed, scoring three times as Adam Touhey and Pat Knauth notched back-to-back base knocks to build a 4-0 cushion. 

UMBC remained in the game, however, as junior Stephen Chrzanowski (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora/Hagerstown CC) finished the fourth inning, and then held Hartford off the board in the fifth and sixth.  The Retrievers got a runner on board in the fifth and the seventh, but left him stranded each time.

The Hawks added to their lead in the seventh as Ryan Lukach laced a ground-rule double to left center to drive in one and Chris DelDebbio lifted a sac fly to center to push the score to 6-0.

The Retrievers rallied in the eighth, but had to settle for just one run despite loading the bases with just one away.  Freshman Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) got the inning going with a one-out infield single and advanced to second on an errant throw.  Lachance was then hit by a pitch and sophomore Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) took four straight out of the zone for the walk.  Sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) then stepped up and drove in Esposito with a fielder's choice.

In the ninth, the visitors made one last go at it, once again putting runners on each of the bases. After two strike outs, Gilchrist singled through the left side to initiate the push.  Freshman Jesse Smith (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) followed with a single to left, and then junior D.J. Smith (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) was hit to load the sacks.  The rally when for naught, though, as the game ended on a fielder's choice.

UMBC now returns home to open up a five-game home stand, starting with a non-conference game against Delaware on Tuesday, Apr. 9 at Alumni Field.  Next weekend America East rival Maine comes calling for a three-game set.

DAWG BITES

-          Sunday's game concludes a season-long eight-game string of road games for UMBC.  The Retrievers went 3-5 during that stretch.

-          Hartford has now won six straight in the series to cut UMBC's all-time lead to 21-18.

-          UMBC and Hartford will meet again for another three-game series on May 11-12 at Alumni Field.

-          Lachance is hitting .405 (15-for-37) during his nine-game hit streak.

-          After UMBC pitchers struck out a season-high 19 batters in Saturday's second game, Cohn and Chrzanowski each fanned one hitter on Sunday.  The strike outs extend UMBC's streak to 88 straight games with at least one K.