BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team makes a quick turn-around after yesterday's home contest versus Navy, traveling south to take on East Carolina for three games in Greenville, N.C. this weekend. The Retrievers and Pirates open the series at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday at 2:00 p.m. with a doubleheader. The third game has not been set due to inclement weather forecasted in the Greenville area.
UMBC (5-11) rallied for six runs in the final four innings and had the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth, but could not complete the comeback, falling to Navy, 9-7, on Thursday afternoon at Alumni Field. Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annadale) went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Retrievers, notching his sixth multi-hit game of the year, while driving in three runs.
East Carolina (14-11) blew past North Carolina Central, 12-5, at home on Wednesday to push its win streak to four after sweeping Charlotte on the road last weekend. Ben Fultz collected three hits in the mid-week win, driving in three runs and scoring three as well for the Pirates.
Game one of the series will feature a battle of right-handers as sophomore Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) works for the Retrievers and Jeff Hoffman (0-3, 4.03 ERA) gets the ball for ECU. Stephenson (1-1, 3.18 ERA) was no-decisioned in his last outing as UMBC rallied to defeat conference rival Maine in 12 innings on Sunday.
In game two, senior Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) heads to the mound for UMBC and will be opposed by junior left-hander Reid Love (1-1, 3.12). Gill (1-1, 1.30 ERA) tossed his sixth career complete game on Saturday night, allowing just one unearned run on five hits, as the Retrievers leveled the series with the Black Bears.
The series finale will pit Retriever southpaw Joe Vanderplas (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax/Tennessee) against Pirate righty David Lucroy (1-3, 7.63 ERA). Vanderplas (0-2, 2.74 ERA) fired six innings for the Retrievers last Saturday afternoon against Maine, but took the loss after yielding just two runs on five hits. The sophomore lefty leads the Retriever staff with 11 punch outs, while walking just three batters.
Sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) went 2-for-5 against Navy to push his hit streak to seven games and record his team-leading seventh multi-hit game of the campaign. The second-year shortstop is hitting .344 this season while infield partner Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) is also over .300 with a .321 average.
Zach Houchins leads the ECU attack and is hitting .350 (35-for-100) with six doubles and nine walks. Ian Townsend has provided the power for the Pirates, driving in a team-best 20 RBI while blasting three home runs. Bryce Harman has also connected for three round-trippers this season.
UMBC and East Carolina have met once previously on the diamond, facing off in Wilson, N.C. in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. The Pirates shut out the Retrievers, 7-0, as UMBC made its second appearance in the post-season in program history.
- The Retrievers are 2-8 in non-conference games this season and 2-7 away from Alumni Field in 2014.
- The Pirates are 10-6 at Clark-LeClair Stadium this season.
- Lachance is hitting .423 (11-or-26) with five walks and seven runs scored during his streak.
- Esposito is hitting .345 (10-for-29) in ten non-conference games this season.