BALTIMORE – After playing 18 of its last 23 games on the road, the UMBC baseball team (7-26, 0-7 America East) returns home to begin a season-long, nine-game home stand starting with a doubleheader against America East rival Albany (9-24-1, 2-4-1) on Friday at the Baseball Factory Field beginning at 3 p.m. The Retrievers and Great Danes will then return on Saturday to complete the four-game series with another doubleheader starting at 4 p.m.
Over that span of 23 games, the Retrievers went 5-18 and have lost their past 14 straight games after falling at George Washington, 8-1, on Wednesday afternoon. Senior Curtis Schickner (East Windsor, N.J./Lawrenceville Prep) went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored, but UMBC could not avoid the season sweep against the Colonials.
Albany did not play this week after splitting a four-game series with conference rival Stony Brook last weekend. On Sunday after the visiting Seawolves had claimed the first game of the doubleheader, the Great Danes rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game, and then won in walk-off fashion as D.J. Hoagboon singled in Jeff Walsh with the game-winner in the tenth inning.
In the series opener on Friday, sophomore Shane Vlasic (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) (2-5, 6.10) will get the ball for the Retrievers. The righty pitched a complete game last time out against Binghamton, but was charged with the loss after giving up four runs on six hits to the Bearcats. Vlasic leads the Retrievers with 24 strike outs this season. Last season as a freshman he threw one shutout inning against Albany in a relief appearance.
UMBC's starter for the second game of the doubleheader has yet to be determined.
On Saturday, UMBC will turn to sophomore Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) (1-5, 5.88). The right-hander pitched two innings on Wednesday against GW and took the loss after yielding three runs on four hits. He will be making his first career starter against the Great Danes.
Senior Steve Miller (Newark, Del./Dickinson) (0-6, 6.49) will take the hill for the series finale on Saturday. In his career, Miller has thrown 2.1 innings in three appearances against the Great Danes, giving up only one run on two hits while recording three strike outs.
Albany leads the series with UMBC 23-8 since the Retrievers joined the America East back in 2003-2004. The Great Danes have won seven of the last eight meetings between the clubs including both games of last year's weather shortened series in New York.
In game one, the Retrievers jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the first on a double by Max Himmelstein (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) and a single by classmate Brian Klukowicz(Clifton, N.J./St. Peter's Prep). Albany rallied for four runs in the bottom of the second to take the lead 4-2.
Himmelstein brought UMBC right back in the top of the third however, plating two runs with an RBI single to right.
Albany answered right back with two runs though and tacked on insurance runs in the fourth and sixth to take the win, 9-4.
In game two, Albany raced to a 4-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back, shutting out UMBC in a shortened six inning game.
This season, Klukowicz leads the Retrievers with a .379 average (31-for-83) and is tied for the team lead with Himmelstein with 23 RBIs. Himmelstein meanwhile leads the team and is tied for the conference lead with seven homeruns; more than triple his total from last season (2).
- The Retrievers are 1-6 against teams from New York this season. The Black and Gold claimed one game of a home opening three-game series against Army, lost to Buffalo in a midweek game in March and was swept at Binghamton last weekend.
- UMBC pitchers struck out four batters on Wednesday to extend the staff's streak to 47 consecutive games with at least one K.
- The Retrievers racked up eight hits against GW to lengthen their streak of games with at least five hits to 25 straight games.
- UMBC has scored five or more runs in 13 games this season through 33 games. Last year the Retrievers scored five or more 17 times in 47 games.
- Retriever batters are hitting .409 (119-for-291) when leading off an inning. Himmelstein leads that group with a .558 average (10-for-17) as the leadoff hitter.
- UMBC is 6-3 when outhitting an opponent, but just 1-23 when being out hit.
- Klukowicz is batting .421 (8-for-19) against Albany in five games against the Great Danes.
- Freshman Ian Glassman (Basking Ridge, N.J./Rutgers Prep) had his ten-game hit streak snapped against GW on Wednesday. Schickner now leads the club with a six-game streak.