Colon Homers but Baseball Drops Doubleheader to Open Weekend at ECU

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Sophomore Manny Colon (Williamstown, N.J./Buena Regional) hit his second home run of the year, and third of his career, in game one, but UMBC dropped both games of a rain-shifted doubleheader to East Carolina, Friday in non-conference action at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

East Carolina (16-11) took the opener, 13-3, behind two doubles from Drew Reynolds, and then earned the sweep over UMBC (5-13) with a 6-0 win in the night cap.

Sophomore Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) took the loss for the Retrievers in the opener after surrendering eight runs, three earned, on 13 hits in six innings of work.  Stephenson (1-2) held ECU off the board for the first three frame and struck out one while not issuing a walk.

Jeff Hoffman (1-3) tossed seven innings for the hosts, earning his first win of the season by holding UMBC to two runs on six hits.  The right-hander punched out six and allowed one walk.

Both pitchers controlled the early stages of the game with neither team able to send one across in the first three innings.  ECU broke through in the fourth, however, as Reynolds led off with a double down the right field line and came in to score as the next batter, Zach Houchins, singled up the middle.

The Retrievers looks to pull the game level in the top of the fifth as Colon slashed a double to the left-centerfield gap.  Senior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) followed with a walk, but a strike out and a fielder's choice ended the threat.

East Carolina took advantage of the opportunity and plated two more in the bottom of the fifth as Dylan Brown sent a sac fly to right and Reynolds backed him up with an RBI single to right-center.  The Pirates then tacked on five runs in the sixth to push the lead to 8-0 before UMBC could get on the board. 

In the top of the seventh, junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) yanked a double down the left field line to start the inning and two batters later, Colon pulled his round-tripper down the right-field line.

The Pirates added two more in the bottom half of the inning to widen the gap to 10-2, and the Retrievers got one back in the top of the eighth as Barnes raced home on a wild pitch after drawing a walk.  East Carolina responded with three runs in its half of the inning to round out the scoring.

In game two, East Carolina jumped on senior Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) for two runs in the bottom of the second on a two-run home run by Luke Lowery.  Gill (1-2) ended up taking the loss after yielding six runs, four earned, on ten hits in five innings of work.

Pirate starter Reid Love controlled the Retrievers over the full nine innings, tossing a complete game.  The left-hander shut out the UMBC attack, striking out six while scattering five hits.

ECU looked to break the game open in the bottom of the third, loading the bases on a double, error, and single.  Gill was able to work out of the jam almost unscathed, though, as he induced a 6-4-3 double play, which scored one run, before fanning Lowery.

The Pirates added to their lead in the fourth, however, scoring three times against the Retriever righty.

The Retriever bullpen kept the visitors in the game as junior Bobby Applegate (Somerdale, N.J./Sterling/Gloucester County College) tossed a scoreless sixth and classmate Jonny Dierks (Easton, Md./Independence/Fort Scott CC) followed by holding the Pirates off the board in the seventh.

UMBC threatened in the top of the eighth as freshman Conor Hax (Bowie, Md./Bishop McNamara) lined a one-out single down the right field line and classmate Andrew Casali (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) beat out an infield roller to put two on.  Reid escaped the inning without damage as his defense rolled up a 4-6-3 twin killing to end the inning.

Sophomore Michael Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) threw a clean eighth, but UMBC could not plate one in the ninth.

The Retrievers and Pirates will conclude their three-game series on Sunday with first pitch set for 1:00 p.m.

DAWG BITES

-          East Carolina has now won all three meetings between the two schools

-          Dolshun went 1-for-4 in the first game and then 1-for-3 in game two to extend his streak of reaching base to 12 straight games.

-          After going hitless in the opener to end his seven-game hit streak, Lachance went _-for-_ in game two

-          Gill's streak of six consecutive quality starts, which dated back to May of 2013, came to an end in game two.