April 12, 2014

Seventh-Inning Rally Completes UMBC Doubleheader Sweep of Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. – The UMBC baseball team rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh inning to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 9-5 lead to comeback and defeat Albany in game two, and complete a doubleheader sweep of the Great Danes, Saturday in America East play at Varsity Field. 

The Retrievers took game one over the Great Danes, 4-2, as sophomore Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) pitched seven quality innings and junior Jonny Dierks (Easton, Md./Independence/Fort Scott CC) shut the door for his second save.  Stephenson (2-3) yielded just one unearned run on seven hits to pick up the win while Dierks faced the minimum six hitters in two innings, striking out three.

In game two, junior Bobby Applegate (Somerdale, N.J./Sterling/Gloucester County College) pitched two innings in relief of senior Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) and benefitted from the Retrievers' rally to pick up the win (2-2).

UMBC (9-18, 5-6 AE) has now won three in a row while Albany (7-18, 4-7 AE) had dropped three of its last four conference games.

The Retrievers started the doubleheader brightly as freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) drew a lead-off walk and took second on a based ball.  Sophomore Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) followed with a single to put runners on the corners and then Lachance gave the visitors the early lead by scoring on a double play ball.

Stephenson worked out of trouble in the first, stranding two on base, and then left another runner on in the second.  The Retriever offense backed him up further in the top of the third, pushing the lead to 2-0, as sophomore Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) lined a single to center to bring in Lachance who had singled to start the inning.

Albany got a run back in the bottom half as Brian Bullard connected for a one-out RBI single to right to bring in Cory Kingston and cut the UMBC lead to 2-1.

Stephenson and Albany reliever Brendan Ryan then controlled the opposing lineups, throwing up blanks in three straight innings.

In the seventh, senior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) led off with a single up the middle and eventually came around to score on a fielder's choice off the bat of senior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep)  to extend the lead back to two, 3-1.  Albany edged back immediately, however, with Richard Bacon scoring an unearned run in the home half.

The Retrievers tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth as Corbi yanked a single down the left field line and Lachance raced around from second to score.  Dierks then sent down the Great Danes in order to preserve the win.

In game two, both offenses got going early as UMBC plated three in the first and Albany responded with two in the bottom half and a single run in the second to pull level.  Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) and sophomore Manny Colon (Williamstown, N.J./Buena Regional) knocked back-to-back RBI doubles for the Retrievers while Evan Harasta and Josh Nethaway got the hosts back in it with RBI singles.

The Retrievers retook the lead in the top of the third as Coluccio slapped a bases-loaded single to right and Corbi came in to score.  Albany came right back again, though, with Kingston beating out an infield roller and Alex Lushkevich scoring from third.

Albany looked to steal a split of the day's doubleheader by scoring once in the bottom of the sixth for a 5-4 lead going to the final frame of the seven-inning contest.

The Retriever seventh got underway inauspiciously with a strike out, but Lachance drew yet another walk to put the visitors in a position to come back.  Freshman Andrew Casali (New Canaan, Conn./New Caanan) then rolled a single through the left side to put two runners on and Corbi following by sending a single to center allowing Lachance to score and knot the game at 5-5.

Sam DeCelle then relieved starter Stephen Woods for Albany, but the Retrievers continued their rally with Casali and Corbi swiping second and third and then Esposito drawing an intentional walk.  With the bases loaded, Barnes grounded into a fielder's choice, but Casali scored to give UMBC the lead, 6-5.  After Colon was hit with a pitch to load the bases again, Coluccio ripped a single to left bringing Corbi and Barnes around to score to extend the advantage to 8-5.

The Great Danes then went to the bullpen again and McCabe, who pinch hit, welcomed Daniel Castro by stroking an RBI single to left, scoring Colon.

Applegate prevented any dramatics in the bottom half, getting a line out to start the frame and then fanning the next two batters.

UMBC and Albany will wrap up the three-game series on Sunday with a single game set for a 12:00 p.m. start.

DAWG BITES

-          The game one victory was UMBC's first at Albany since May 11, 2007 and second since joining the America East in 2004.

-          The two wins Saturday mark the first time that UMBC has won a series at Albany.

-          UMBC also won the series opener when the teams met at Alumni Field back in March.

-          Freshman Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) had his 14-game hit streak snapped as he grounded out in his only plate appearance in game one.  He was lifted in the bottom of the second due to an injury.

-          His 14-game hit streak was the longest for the Retrievers since Joe Fowler recorded a 14-game streak during the 2008 season.

-          Casali now has the longest hit streak for the Retrievers, extending his to 13 games with one hit in game one and a 2-for-4 effort in the second game.

-          Lachance walked to start both games.