Retrievers Host Maine for America East Series this Weekend; All Three Games to be Streamed on UMBCRetrievers.tv

Sophomore Jake Barnes
Sophomore Jake Barnes

BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team returns to America East play with a three-game series against league-leading Maine this weekend at Alumni Field.  The Retrievers and Black Bears will play a doubleheader on Saturday with the first game beginning at noon and then conclude the series with a single game on Sunday.  All three games will be streamed live on UMBCRetrievers.tv with Saturday's double-dip being treated as a single purchase.  Each telecast will feature live commentary, multiple camera angles, and replays.

Junior Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) will get the ball for the series opener once again for the Retrievers.  Gill (2-1, 3.79 ERA) has made the start in each of UMBC's four conference series this season, in addition to starting the season-opener vs. N.C. State and the first game against Mount St. Mary's.  The right-hander took the loss last weekend as the Retrievers fell at Hartford.  Maine, meanwhile, will counter with Tommy Lawrence who is 5-2 this season with a 2.04 ERA after defeating Binghamton last weekend.

Game two will feature a matchup of right-handers as freshman Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) goes up against AJ Bazdanes.  In his last outing, Mikush (0-2, 5.11 ERA) pitched five scoreless innings but drew a no-decision as Hartford rallied to tie the game in the eighth and went on to win in 16 innings.  Bazdanes (4-3, 3.63 ERA) went seven innings and gave up just two runs on five hits to complete the doubleheader sweep of the Bearcats.

For Sunday's finale, neither team has named a starter.

Maine leads the all-time series with UMBC 31-3 and has won the last 16 contests between the schools.  Last year, the Black Bears came into Alumni Field and swept a four-game series from the Retrievers.  UMBC last defeated its conference rival on Apr. 20, 2008, 4-2, to earn a home split.  The two teams first met in a non-conference contest in 2002 before becoming America East foes in 2004.

UMBC (8-15, 4-8 AE) comes into the weekend on a four-game slide after falling to Delaware, 6-3, in mid-week action.  Junior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) and sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) each went 2-for-4 for the Retrievers and freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) hit his first career homerun in the loss.

Lachance, who is currently on a ten-game hitting streak, leads the club with a .317 average (26-for-82) and seven stolen bases.  He is also tied for the team-lead, with Barnes, with nine RBI.

The Retrievers have relied on a steady pitching staff, particularly the bullpen this year, and currently rank fourth in the conference with a 4.65 team ERA.  Junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) and sophomore Kevin Ladner (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) have been the work horses out the pen, combining to make 22 appearance and work 50 innings.  Cohn is 2-2 on the year with a 2.39 ERA while Ladner is 1-0 and a team-best 2.28 ERA.  Freshman Mike Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) has been called upon 12 times this spring and has recorded four saves.

Maine (18-14, 8-3 AE) sits atop the America East standings and leads the league in both batting average and ERA.  The Black Bears are hitting .293 as a team and are led by Troy Black who is second in the conference with a .344 average (42-for-122).  Black has also driven in a team-best 30 runs and is tied with Sam Balzano for the team lead with 12 stolen bases.  As a team, Maine has stolen 55 bases in 77 attempts this year.

Out of the bullpen, the Black Bears have been working by committee to close out wins.  Three different pitchers have recorded a save this spring with Mike ConnollyCharlie Butler, and Shaun Coughlin each notching one.

DAWG BITES

-          UMBC is 2-16 all-time against Maine at Alumni Field.  Both wins came during the four-game series in 2008.

-          The three-game weekend series is the middle part of a five-game home stand for the Retrievers.

-          UMBC and Maine will meet again later this season on the last weekend of the season, May 11-12 in Orono, Maine.

-          Lachance's hit streak is the longest for any Retriever this season.

-          Gomez struck out 14 batters in 7.1 innings of relief work against Hartford last weekend.

-          The Retrievers are 3-3 when playing error-free baseball but 5-12 when committing at least one miscue.