Albany Rallies Late to Take Series Finale from UMBC, 6-4

BALTIMORE – UMBC jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a pair of runs in both the first and second innings, but Albany rallied late to take the rubber game, 6-4, Sunday afternoon in America East play at Alumni Field.

Sophomore Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) went 1-for-3 on the day, driving in the first two runs of the game for UMBC (3-8, 1-2 AE) while freshman Conor Hax (Bowie, Md./Bishop McNamara) and sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) also collected RBI.

Craig Lepre connected for the go-ahead runs for Albany (3-7, 2-1 AE), smacking a two-RBI double to deep centerfield in the top of the seventh inning.

Reliever Matt Gallup (1-0) earned the win for the Great Danes, throwing the last three innings of the game and allowing just two hits. 

Sophomore Cam Maxey (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) was charged with the loss after yielding three earned runs in 1.2 innings of work, including Lepre's double.

The Retrievers started brightly against Albany starter Stephen Woods as Esposito cashed in on the early pressure by dumping a single to center.  Freshman Andrew Casali (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) and Lachance scored on the play to give the Black and Gold a 2-0 lead in the first.

UMBC starter Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) stranded two more Great Danes on base in the top of the second and the Retrievers backed up their starter again.  Junior Ryan Sliwak (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh/Nassau CC) led off with a triple to deep center and came into score two batters later as Hax grounded into a fielder's choice which erased senior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold/Brookdale CC).  After a walk and a line out, Lachance singled to bring around Hax for a 4-0 UMBC lead. 

The Retrievers looked to add more in the third as Esposito was hit by a pitch to start the inning and then freshman Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) walked to knock out Woods.  Reliever Brendan Ryan kept the visitors in the game, however, sending down the next three batters in order.

Stephenson kept Albany off the board until the fifth when Josh Nethaway doubled to center with two down to score Brian Bullard and Richard Bacon and cut the lead to 4-2.

In the top of the sixth, Stephenson was relieved by Maxey with one down and a man on first and second and Maxey induced an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to preserve the lead.

The next inning though, Albany grabbed the lead, 5-4, as Matt Hinchy and Lepre knocked back-to-back doubles to drive in three runs.

The Danes added to their lead in the top of the eighth on a two-out single to center by Evan Harasta to push the lead to 6-4.

The Retrievers got a runner on in the bottom of the ninth, but could not push a run across against Gallup.

UMBC hits the road, but stays local, for two mid-week games, taking on Georgetown on Tuesday at Shirley Povich Field and then facing Maryland in College Park on Wednesday.

DAWG BITES

-          Albany leads the all-time series, 30-11, and has won seven of the last nine meetings.

-          Sliwak has tripled in two of the last four games.