April 28, 2014

Home Stand Ends Thursday Afternoon vs. Towson

BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team wraps up its five-game home stand on Thursday afternoon when the Retrievers host beltway rival Towson at Alumni Field at 3:300 p.m.  The game was moved from Tuesday evening and Wednesday's scheduled game at UMES was cancelled.

Junior Shane Vlasic (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) is scheduled to start Thursday's game against Towson The Tigers will send sophomore right-hander Joe Patton (3-2, 6.16 ERA) to the mound at Alumni Field.  Vlasic (3-1, 4.94 ERA) has won each of his last two starts, shutting out Coppin State over six innings on April 16 and then limiting GW to two runs over six innings last Tuesday.  

UMBC (13-21) had its seven-game win streak ended over the weekend as America East rival UMass Lowell came into Alumni Field and swept the three-game series.  The Retrievers defeated George Washington last Tuesday, 8-2, behind a 4-for-4 effort from junior Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) which included the outfielder's first long ball of the year.  Then on Wednesday, the Retriever offense collected nine hits and drew seven walk en route to a 6-5 win over Coppin State.

The Retrievers are 6-7 at home this season after dropping all three games to the River Hawks.  With the win last Tuesday in Arlington, Va., UMBC improved to 6-12 on the road and has won each of its last five games away from Alumni Field.

Barnes' big day against GW propelled him to a .343 average in non-conference play this season, the highest average on the team.  Freshman Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) has also excelled mid-week and is hitting .340 in non-league games. 

Towson (20-19) won the weekend opener, but lost the next two to James Madison to drop the three-game series and halt the Tigers' modest three-game winning streak.  Peter Bowles leads the everyday players with a .301 batting average, and has driven in 28 runs, the second-highest total on the team.  Kurt Wertz leads the Tigers with eight home runs this season and has knocked in a team-best 34 RBI.

The Tigers have played just 12 home games this season, posting a 6-3 record, while going 6-14 in road contests.  Towson swept the home-and-home two-game series with UMBC last year and has won three straight to lead the all-time series, 47-35-1, which dates back to 1970, the Retrievers' fourth season as a collegiate program. 

DAWG BITES

-          The "Thank Jank" ceremony to honor former head coach John Jancuska, originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 29, has been moved to May 13 when the Retrievers host Georgetown.

-          UMBC is 4-2 against in-state opponents this season (2-0 vs. Coppin State; 0-1 vs. Maryland; 1-0 vs. UMES; 1-1 vs. Navy).

-          Five of UMBC's six home runs this season have come in non-conference play.

-          The Retrievers are 7-5 when out-hitting or recording the same number of hits as the opponent.

-          Sophomore Mark Esposito (.438), Dolshun (.414), junior Ryan Sliwak (.412) and sophomore Kevin Lachance (.412) are all hitting over .400 as the lead-off batter in an inning.