BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team (10-39, 2-19 AE) hosts America East rival Binghamton (19-24, 10-9 AE) for a three-game series to finish its 2012 regular season this weekend at the Baseball Factory Field. The Retrievers and Bearcats will play a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 1 p.m. and then finish the regular season with a single contest on Saturday set to start at 1 p.m. UMBC will celebrate the careers of its senior class in a pre-game ceremony on Saturday.
Both teams are coming off of road sweeps at the hands of conference rivals as the Retrievers dropped all three games at regular season champion Stony Brook and the Bearcats loss four games at in-state rival Albany last weekend. UMBC has lost six straight while Binghamton has lost five consecutive games and six of its last seven.
In Friday's opener, freshman Jon Cobo (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) (0-1, 12.89) gets the ball for the Retrievers to make his first start since April 10 when he faced Delaware. The rookie has made a total of 15 appearances this season, starting in four games. One of his best outings came as a starter back on Mar. 4 in the series finale against Army in which the lefty pitched four innings and did not give up a run as the Retrievers won for the first time in 2012, 10-8.
Game two on Saturday will feature sophomore Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) (1-8, 8.87) on the mound for UMBC. In his first season for the Black and Gold, the right-hander has made ten starts while coming in from the bullpen for two other appearances. His longest outing of the season was at Tulane on Mar. 24 when he lasted 7.2 innings, giving up just two runs as the Retrievers rallied to down the Green Wave, 3-2. In his start just prior to the game in New Orleans, Gill went seven innings against Coppin State, yielding no earned runs and picking up his first victory of the year.
For Saturday's season-finale, senior Steve Miller (Newark, Del./Dickinson) takes the hill for the last time for UMBC at the Baseball Factory Field following the senior ceremony. The veteran righty has thrown three straight complete games for the Retrievers and earned his first career win two starts ago at Hartford. In that game against the Hawks, Miller threw seven innings giving up just three runs on six hits as UMBC won, 7-3. This season he leads the Retrievers in strikeouts with 35 and trails only Shane Vlasic in innings pitched having completed 60.1 innings of work.
The Retrievers and Bearcats have already met this season with Binghamton sweeping the three-game series at NYSEG Stadium, home of the Binghamton Mets. Two of the games were decided by three runs or fewer as the teams dueled throughout the weekend.
In the opener, Binghamton raced out to a 5-0 lead after just three innings and looked to have the game put away after scoring three more in the sixth to extend its lead to 8-0. In the top of the seventh, however, the Retrievers rallied for six runs, cutting the gap to just two. Sophomore Rob McCabe(Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) hit two doubles in the inning, but was stranded following the second one as Bearcat closer Lee Sosa recorded the final out to preserve the win and earn the save.
Game two started in much the same fashion as the conclusion of the first game as UMBC plated three runs in the top of the first, keyed by a two-run double from senior Brian Klukowicz (Clifton, N.J./St. Peter's Prep). Binghamton answered with three of its own in the bottom of the first and scored three more in the second to take a 6-3 lead. After the Retrievers drew within one, 6-5, in the third, Binghamton broke the game open with a run in the fourth and three more in the fifth, finishing with a 14-8 win.
Sunday's finale was much more of a pitcher's duel as Vlasic turned in an eight-inning complete game for the Retrievers and Bearcat Jake Lambert also lasted eight innings before turning it over to Sosa for the save to finish the 4-1 home win.
Since 2004 when UMBC joined the America East, Binghamton has won 28 of the 31 meetings between the two schools including 14 straight and a sweep of each of the last three season series. The Retrievers last defeated the Bearcats, 9-4, on Apr. 12, 2008 in Upstate New York.
- UMBC is just 2-15 against teams from the state of New York this season and 1-12 against its America East Empire State rivals (1-3 vs. Albany; 1-2 vs. Army; 0-3 vs. Binghamton; 0-1 vs. Buffalo; 0-6 vs. Stony Brook).
- The Retrievers have stolen 51 bases this season, tied for the fourth most in school history with the 1988 team. This is the most in UMBC history since the 1991 squad set the school record with 75 swipes.
- Klukowicz hit two homeruns last weekend at Stony Brook and now leads the America East in homeruns with nine in 2012.
- Freshman Anthony Gatto (Huappauge, N.Y./Smithtown) currently leads the Retrievers with a six-game hit streak that includes three multi-hit games. He is hitting .417 (10-for-24) during this stretch.
- Gatto is batting .630 (17-for-27) when leading off an inning this season.
- Senior Curtis Schickner (East Windsor, N.J./Lawrenceville Prep) is hitting .432 (16-for-37) with runners in scoring position this year.
- Senior Max Himmelstein (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) has played in 175 games, most among active players, and eighth most in UMBC history.