BALTIMORE – For the first time since 1987, UMBC will take on UMES in baseball when the Retrievers head across the Bay to the Eastern Shore to take on the Hawks on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch from Hawks Stadium is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
The pitching matchup features a pair of freshmen as Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) will head to the mound for the first time in mid-week for the Retrievers while UMES sends J.P. Black to the hill. Stephenson has made four starts this spring, all on the weekend, but is 0-4 with a 10.97 ERA. Black, meanwhile, is 0-1 with an 8.50 ERA in seven appearances, including two starts.
The in-state rivals last met in 1987 with the Retrievers sweeping a doubleheader, 3-2 and 25-1, to remain perfect against the Hawks (8-0).
UMBC (7-11, 4-5 America East) enters the mid-week contest in the midst of a season-long eight-game road swing. The Retrievers went 2-2 last week, defeating George Washington in Northern Virginia and winning the opening game at Stony Brook, before dropping the next two.
Freshman shortstop Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) hit .533 (8-for-15) last week with a double, two RBI, and two runs scored. Lachance currently leads the everyday players with a .306 average (19-for-62) while totaling seven RBI, the second-most on the team.
Sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) notched both game-winning hits a week ago. With Lachance having just knotted the game with GW at 1-1 in the top of the sixth, Barnes slammed his first career homerun, a two-run shot, to propel the Black and Gold to a 4-1 win. Then on Friday in the top of the tenth, the sophomore shot a double to left-centerfield to bring around classmate Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) with the game-winner against the Seawolves.
Junior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Towsnhip/Brookdale CC) has provided depth for the club, hitting .306 (11-for-36) in 15 games played while captain Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) leads UMBC with a .361 on-base percentage.
The UMBC staff currently holds a 4.98 ERA, a four-run improvement from last year, which ranks fourth in the America East. Junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) has shut down opponents all year with a 1.69 ERA and specifically as of late, not allowing a run in his last 15 innings of work. Sophomore Kevin Ladner (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) has also been effective, allowing just four earned runs in 18.2 innings, while freshman Mike Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) has saved three wins.
UMES (5-24, 2-7 MEAC) was swept by conference rival Delaware State over the weekend and has now lost seven-straight, dating back to a Mar. 23 win over Norfolk State. The Hawks were outscored 38-9 last weekend, getting shutout 12-0 in the night cap of Saturday's twin bill.
Outfielder Byron Campbell and catcher Brandon Schott lead the Hawks at the plate, each batting over .300. Starting and playing in all 29 games, Campbell has amassed a .354 average (35-for-99) while scoring a team-best 26 runs. Schott is not far behind, hitting .338 (27-for-80), and leading the club in doubles (10) and RBI (17).
UMES' pitching staff has a 6.92 ERA heading into the mid-week affair, with five different pitchers having made four or more starts. Sophomore righty Devin Repine has made the most appearances without a start (9) this season and has notched three saves.
- UMBC won the first-ever matchup between the two Maryland rivals, 14-6 in 1979.
- The Retrievers are 2-1 against in-state opponents having swept Mount St. Mary's on Mar. 9-10 and falling at Towson on Mar. 20.
- UMBC and UMES will meet again later this season on May 8 at Alumni Field.
- Lachance enters Wednesday's game on a career-best five-game hit streak.
- UMBC is 7-10 in day games this year.
- The Retrievers are 7-7 when not giving up a home run, but 0-4 when the opponent hits at least one round-tripper.
- UMBC is 3-0 when outhitting or equaling the opponent's hit total.