April 4, 2014

Retriever Baseball Returns to America East Play with Weekend Series at Binghamton

Coach's Corner Preview

BALTIMORE – After six straight non-conference games, including a three-game series last weekend at East Carolina, the UMBC baseball team returns to America East play with a three-game set at Binghamton this weekend in Vestal, N.Y.  The Retrievers and Bearcats will play a single game on Saturday at Varsity Field beginning at 1:00 p.m. and follow it with a doubleheader on Sunday, scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m.

Entering the weekend, UMBC (6-15, 3-3 AE) sits fourth in the America East standings, having dropped two of three at home to Albany (March 15-16), but bouncing back to take the series against Maine the next weekend (March 22-23).  In mid-week action, the Retrievers dropped a 16-9 decision at Delaware State on Tuesday, but responded with a 5-2 home victory over UMES on Wednesday behind a strong outing from junior hurler Shane Vlasic (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run).

Binghamton (6-13, 1-4 AE) lost both games of its conference-opening series at UMass Lowell and then managed to win one of three at Hartford.  The Bearcats were scheduled to play at Mount St. Mary's last weekend, but the series was called due to rain.  BU then shutout NJIT, 10-0, on Tuesday afternoon in New Jersey.

Game one of the doubleheader on Saturday , the nine-inning contest, will feature a pair of right-handers as sophomore Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) takes the hill for the Retrievers while red-shirt junior Jack Rogalla (2-3, 2.08 ERA) throws for Binghamton.  Stephenson (1-2) took the loss in the series opener last weekend at ECU, but has lasted at least five innings in three of his last four starts which included a five-hit shutout over 7.1 innings against UNC Greensboro on March 8.

Senior righty Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) heads to the mound for the Retrievers in the seven-inning game two, while junior right-hander Mike Urbanski (1-1, 4.50 ERA) gets the ball for the Bearcats.  Gill (1-2) had his string of six straight quality starts snapped last weekend in North Carolina, but previously limited Maine to just one unearned run on five hits in a 2-1 UMBC win on March 22.  The senior has recorded a 2.20 ERA in 32.2 innings this season.

In the series finale on Sunday, sophomore lefty Joe Vanderplas (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax/Tennessee) will work for the visitors and sophomore right-hander Jake Cryts (2-3, 3.86 ERA) gets the start for BU.  The southpaw held ECU to just one run on two hits over six innings last weekend and received a no-decision as UMBC rallied to tie the game in the top of the sixth.  Vanderplas (0-2) has posted a 2.20 ERA and leads the Retriever staff with 12 strike outs this season and has managed to walk just four batters.

Freshman Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) has paced the UMBC attack as of late and is riding a ten-game hit streak.  The rookie infielder/catcher, who is hitting .328, went 1-for-3 on Wednesday against UMES, knocking in a run with an RBI single in the fourth.  Sophomore Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) is hitting .306 with eight RBI and eight runs scored this season.

The Retrievers are 27-of-36 in stolen base attempts this season with sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) a perfect 5-for-5 on the base paths.

Daniel Nevares went 3-for-4 in the mid-week win at NJIT and leads Binghamton with a .304 batting average in 2014.  The senior is tied with Bill Bereszniewicz for the team lead with 13 runs scored while he has also driven in seven runs.  Bereszniewicz, meanwhile, has scampered around for two triples this season and is 6-for-9 in stealing bases.

Binghamton leads the all-time series, 37-9, with a 37-6 advantage in America East play, but the two teams split their six matchups last season.  The Retrievers took two of three in Baltimore, and the Bearcats returned the favor by winning the series in New York.

DAWG BITES

-          Dolshun has reached base safely in 15 consecutive games.

-          Gill is scheduled to make his fifth career start against Binghamton on Saturday.

-          Senior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) hit .386 (7-for-19) against Binghamton last season and was named the America East Player of the Week after the Retrievers' series win in Baltimore in March.

-          Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale), who was named the America East Player of the Week on Tuesday, leads UMBC with eight multi-hit games this season.

-          Lachance is hitting .364 (8-for-22) in conference play in 2014.