Baseball Hosts Towson on Wednesday for Final Midweek, Non-Conference Game

Brian Klukowicz is a .444 career hitter in four games against Towson
Brian Klukowicz is a .444 career hitter in four games against Towson

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BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team welcomes in-state rival Towson to the Baseball Factory Field on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. for the squad's final midweek, non-conference game of the season.  The Tigers shut out UMBC in Towson, 11-0, back on Mar. 7 in the only matchup between the school's this season.

Senior Josh Dick (Winchester, Va./James Wood) (3-1, 6.89) will make his third start of the season for UMBC on Wednesday.  Used primarily as a reliever, all three of the lefty's wins this season have come out of the pen, including his victory over Tulane on Mar. 24 when he shut out the Green Wave for an inning and a third.  In his first start of the year, against Mount St. Mary's on Apr. 25, Dick was no decisioned after throwing a season-high 5.0 innings.  His only loss of the year came in this past weekend's start at Hartford.

In the last meeting between UMBC and Towson, the Tigers' pitching staff shut out the Retrievers and limited them to just two hits, their lowest offensive output of the season.  Freshman Ian Glassman (Basking Ridge, N.J./Rutgers Prep) was one of the lone bright spots for the Retrievers, reaching base three times, going 1-for-2 at the plate with two walks.

The game started out as a bit of a pitcher's dual with Towson only able to scrape one run at a time in the first three innings.  They scored a single run again in both the fifth and sixth innings before exploding for six runs in the bottom of the seventh at Schuerholz Park.  Four Tiger batters collected multi-hit games led by lead-off hitter Pat Fitzgerald who went 2-for-3, walked twice and scored three runs.

The Tigers have won 16 of the last 19 meetings over the past ten years, however lost the last time they made the trip around the beltway to the Baseball Factory Field.  After Towson won the first matchup of 2011, 10-9, at home, the Retrievers split the season series with a 13-7 win on their home turf.  The victory was UMBC's first in the series since winning at home, 9-6, back in 2004.

In last year's second game, Brian Klukowicz (Clifton, N.J./St. Peter's Prep) was one of four Retrievers to pick up three base hits as UMBC pounded out a total of 16 base hits and held off a late Towson charge to record the victory.  Klukowicz went 3-for-5 in the game, hitting two doubles and driving in a team-high five runs.  Luke DiBlasi pitched four innings, yielding only one unearned run on three hits to pick up the win.

This past weekend, the Retriever ventured away from home for the first time in over two weeks and won the opening game of a four-game series at Hartford, 7-3, behind a strong effort from right-hander Steve Miller (Newark, Del./Dickinson).  The senior threw a seven-inning, complete game, giving up only three runs on six hits to pick up his first career win.  Klukowicz continued his strong senior campaign, going 2-for-3 in the game and hitting his seventh homerun of the season.

The Hawks battled back however in game two, evening the series with a 16-10 win Saturday evening.  On Sunday, Hartford edged the Retrievers, 3-2 in eight innings and then claimed the series win with a 16-9 victory in the finale.

Klukowicz leads the Retriever offense this year, pacing the team in batting average (.369), doubles (11) and RBIs (48).  A pair of classmates joins him at the head of the charge as Curtis Schickner (East Windsor, N.J./Lawrenceville Prep) has a .329 average (46-for-140) while Max Himmelstein (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) is tied for the America East lead with eight homeruns in 2012.

On the hill, Miller currently leads the staff with a 5.96 ERA and 30 strikeouts, followed closely by sophomore Shane Vlasic (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) who has recorded a 6.49 ERA and 28 K's after his complete game effort against Hartford.

DAWG BITES

-           UMBC is 6-3 against in-state rivals this season, compared to a 2-3 mark last season (3-0 vs. Coppin State; 2-0 vs. Mount St. Mary's; 1-2 vs. Navy; 0-1 vs. Towson).

-          UMBC has lost both of its games against CAA opponents in 2012 (Mar. 7 at Towson, 0-11; Apr. 10 at Delaware, 8-17).

-          The Retrievers have stolen 51 bases, matching the team's total put up in 1988.  This is the most stolen bases in a season since the 1991 team set the school record with 75 swipes.

-          Freshman Anthony Gatto (Hauppauge, N.Y./Smithtown West) is hitting .615 (16-for-26) when leading off an inning this season.

-          Himmelstein has been bit by a pitch 13 times this season, more than any other Retriever in school history.

-          Schickner has 13 sacrifices this season, tied for the most in a single season in school history.

-          In 2012 Schickner is a .457 hitter (16-for-35) with runners in scoring position.

-          Junior Tom Gilchrist (Olney, Md./Sherwood/Chesapeake CC) currently leads the squad with a five-game hit streak.