Balanced Attack Leads UMBC past Coppin State for 6-5 Win

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

BALTIMORE – The UMBC offense banged out nine hits and drew seven walks, including two bases-loaded walks in the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie, and the Retrievers held off Coppin State for a 6-5 win in non-conference play, Wednesday evening at Alumni Field.

Seniors D.J. Smith (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) and Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC), as well as freshman Andrew Casali (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan), each collected multi-hit games as UMBC (13-18) won for the seventh game in a row. 

Sophomore Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) came out of the pen for the Retrievers and pitch 1.2 innings to earn his first win of the year.  The right-hander (1-2) struck out four in the appearance before making way for junior Jonny Dierks (Easton, Md./Independence/Fort Scott) who pitched two scoreless innings, fanning four Eagles, to complete his third save of the season.

Coppin State (9-27) out hit the Retrievers, 10-9, but was undone by an erratic pitching staff.  Starter Shane Davies (1-4) took the loss for the Eagles after surrendering six runs, five of which were earned, on eight hits over 5.0 innings of work.  The lefty struck out one but issued three free passes.

The visitors punched first in the wind-swept game, scoring one run against UMBC starter Stephen Chrzanowski (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora/Hagerstown CC) in the bottom of the first.  Jeffrey Fitch led off the game with a single to left and took second on a fielder error.  Two batters later, Bryant Miranda sent a single to right to plate Fitch and give Coppin State the early lead.

Davies held UMBC off the board until the third when the hosts took the lead with two runs.  Sophomore Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) initiated the rally with a single to left and then stole second.  Casali then slapped a single to center and Lachance rounded the bases to score and level the game at 1-1 as the ball was misplayed in the outfield.  Casali advanced all the way to third on the play and then came home on a sac fly off the bat of junior Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee).

The Retrievers added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth as junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) started the inning with a four-pitch walk and Smith followed by pulling a single to left.  After a sacrifice bunt by Coluccio, senior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) smacked a base-knock under the shortstop's glove and into center to score both runners and push the UMBC lead to 4-1.

Coppin State pegged back in the top of the sixth, drawing within one, 4-3, on a two-run home run to centerfield by David Hamlett, and then pulling even at 4-4 on single through the left side by Chris Godfrey.

UMBC retook the lead immediately, however, in the home half of the inning and never looked back.  Coluccio drove a lead-off double to right-center and McCabe was then hit with the first pitch of the at-bat to put two runners on.  Coppin State then brought in Jhar Devilme who retired his first two batters, but then walked three straight to push two runs across and give the Black and Gold the 6-4 lead.

The Eagles got one run back in the top of the seventh on a one-out RBI double down the right field line by Hamlett, but Mikush struck out the next two hitters to strand two CSU runners on base and preserve the lead.

Dierks entered to start the eighth inning for the Retrievers and allowed just one base runner on a two-out error in the inning before mowing down the Eagles in the ninth to nail down the save.

UMBC now welcomes league newcomer UMass Lowell to Alumni Field for a three-game America East weekend series beginning on Saturday, April 26.

DAWG BITES

-          UMBC has now won seven straight against Coppin State and leads the all-time series 43-1.

-          The Retrievers' seven-game win streak this season is the longest run for the program since a seven-game stretch during the 2000 season.

-          UMBC rallied after giving up the first run and is now 5-6 when the opponent scores in the first inning and 6-10 when the opponent scores first in the game.

-          Lachance's third-inning steal gives UMBC 49 steals on the year, breaking last year's mark of 48 and grabbing the sixth-highest season total in program history.