Vlasic Dominates, K’s Nine as UMBC Blanks Coppin State, 3-0
HANOVER, Md. – UMBC junior right-hander Shane Vlasic (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) surrendered just four hits over six innings while striking out a career-high nine batters as the Retriever baseball team shut out Coppin State, 3-0, Wednesday evening in non-conference action at Joe Cannon Stadium.
Vlasic (2-1) gave up three of the four hits in the first inning before settling in and allowing just two more base runners the rest of the outing. Senior Stephen Chrzanowski (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) pitched a scoreless seventh and then sophomore Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) cleaned up the eighth and finished off the ninth to earn his first career save.
William Grebenstein (1-5) worked five innings for the host Eagles, yielding just one run on two hits, but received little support from his offense against the Retriever staff.
After UMBC (11-18) wasted a runner in the top of the first, Coppin State (8-22) looked to take the lead in the bottom half with David Hamlett doubling to right-center to start the inning. Vlasic picked him off, though, to erase the immediate threat. The Eagles responded by putting runners on first and second with two down, but the veteran righty got Darien Percell to ground into a fielder's choice to cut the rally short.
Both starters sent down the opposing lineup down in order in each of the next two frames, allowing the Retrievers to take the lead in the top of the fourth. Grebenstein retired the first two batters, but then walked sophomore Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional). Junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) made the most of the free pass, lashing a triple to right-center to bring Esposito around with what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Vlasic continued to mow down the Eagles, getting two ground outs and a swinging strikeout in the fourth, and then fanning two more batters in the fifth. The Coppin State staff answered the call, holding the Retrievers off the board through the middle innings.
UMBC was poised to extend its lead in the top of the seventh as Barnes pulled a lead-off single to left. With one down, the junior stole second and third, but the Retrievers could not bring him in.
Chrzanowski came on to pitch the home half of the inning and sent the Eagles down in order, and the Retriever attack responded with two runs to push the lead to 3-0. Freshman Connor Hax (Bowie, Md./Bishop McNamara) drew a lead-off walk and moved to second as sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) reached on an error by the second baseman. Freshman Andrew Casali (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) moved both runners up with a sacrifice bunt, and then junior Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) brought in Hax with and RBI ground out. Esposito then ripped a double to deep left to bring in Lachance to score.
Each of the first two batters got on against Chrzanowski in the eighth, but Mikush shut down the rally by getting a pop out to second, striking out Bryant Miranda, and inducing a ground out to third.
In the ninth, Mikush worked around a one-out walk to complete UMBC's second shutout of the season.
UMBC now has Easter weekend off from competition before traveling to Northern Virginia on Tuesday afternoon to take on George Washington before returning to Alumni Field to host Coppin State on Wednesday evening.
- UMBC has won five straight games for the team's longest winning streak since the Retrievers won six straight in 2008.
- UMBC has now won each of the last six games against Coppin State to push its lead in the all-time series to 42-1.
- In the last three games against the Eagles, the Retriever staff has allowed just one run (unearned) in 30 innings.
- The Retrievers have shut out Coppin State in each of the last two games at Joe Cannon Stadium.
- UMBC played error-free baseball for the fourth time this season. The Retrievers are now 2-2 when playing mistake-free baseball.
- Vlasic retired 14 in a row from the first inning until the sixth inning.
- Vlasic's previous career-high for strikeouts was six against UMES on April 2.
- Vlasic, Chrzanowski, and Mikush combined to strike out a season-high 13 batters.
- UMBC shut out UNC Greensboro, 2-0, on March 8 at the Chanticleer Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
- Casali went 0-for-3 to snap his 14-game hit streak. His streak matched classmate Hunter Dolshun who also had his 14-game streak which ended last Saturday at Albany.