BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team starts its late-season five-game home stand with a single game against local rival Towson on Wednesday evening at Alumni Field. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. Wednesday's contest, in addition to this weekend's America East series with Stony Brook will be streamed live on UMBCRetrievers.tv and will feature live commentary, multiple camera angles, and replays.
Freshman Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) will make his second start of the season against Towson after taking the loss back on Mar. 20. Stephenson (1-6, 7.56 ERA) went two innings in a staff outing for the Retrievers, surrendering two runs on four hits. Due to their game with Maryland on Tuesday afternoon, the Tigers have not named a starter for Wednesday's game.
Towson and UMBC have met 82 times since 1970, the second-most games for any Retriever opponent, with the Tigers holding a 46-35-1 advantage. Towson has won each of the last two meetings, both of which came at Schuerholz Park, shutting out the Retrievers on each occasion. The Retrievers won the last game at Alumni Field, 13-7, back in 2011 behind a 3-for-5 day at the plate by Brian Klukowicz. Junior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep), then a freshman, went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.
UMBC (11-24, 5-16 America East) opens the five-game home stretch on a four-game losing skid after falling to George Washington in mid-week action and getting swept by Albany over the weekend. Previously, the Retrievers had earned a 2-1 walk-off win over Coppin State on a single by McCabe in the bottom of the 12th inning.
The junior captain leads the Retrievers at the plate with a .344 on-base percentage and is currently riding a six-game hit streak. During the string, McCabe is hitting .333 (8-for-24) with two multi-hit games. He is tied with classmate Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) for the team lead with nine multiple-hit games this spring. Coluccio also paces the squad with 13 runs knocked in this season.
Out of the bullpen, junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) has thrown 35.2 innings this season, the most of any reliever. The veteran right-hander has held opponents off the board on six occasions in 2013 include a run of four straight appearances in late March. Sophomore Kevin Ladner (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) has been called upon more than any other UMBC reliever, coming out of the pen 16 times and working to a team-best 2.30 ERA.
Towson (21-21, 11-7 CAA) enters the week losers of their last three non-conference contests, but won the final two games to win the weekend series against CAA-leading UNC Wilmington. The Tigers lost the opener at Schuerholz Park 10-5 on Friday night, but earned a 9-5 victory on Saturday to level the set and then took the series with an 8-5 decision on Sunday.
The Tigers rank fifth in the CAA with a .285 team batting average and are led at the plate by Peter Bowles and Dominic Fratanuono. Bowles has recorded a team-best .373 average (44-for-118) with five homeruns while Fratantuono leads the club with 56 hits. Kurt Wertz and Andrew Parker have each hit six long balls for the Tigers this year.
The Towson pitching staff currently sits in sixth in the CAA with a 4.50 ERA. Kyle Paul has received the call 11 times this season, working 29.0 innings to a 2.17 ERA. Nick Cioffi, meanwhile, has made a team-high 17 appearances and notched two saves.
- The Tigers have won 15 of the last 16 meetings between the two programs.
- UMBC is 2-5 against Towson at Alumni Field in the since 2004.
- The Retrievers are 6-8 at home this season while the Tigers are 13-13 on the road.
- UMBC is 7-13 when playing on May 1 since 1993.
- Towson and UMBC met on May 1 in both 1995 and 1996 with the Retrievers claiming the win in '95 and the teams splitting a doubleheader in '96.
- McCabe is the only active Retriever with more than seven career at-bats against Towson.