UMBC Baseball Travels North to Connecticut for Three-Game Set at Hartford

Sophomore Anthony Gatto
Sophomore Anthony Gatto

BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team finishes up its season-long eight game road swing with a three-game set this weekend at America East rival Hartford.  The Retrievers and Hawks will play a doubleheader beginning on Saturday at noon at Fiondella Field and conclude the series with a single game on Sunday also set to start at 12:00 p.m.

UMBC (8-11, 4-5 AE) is 3-2 during this string of road games and will send Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) to the hill to start the series.  The junior right-hander (2-0, 2.70 ERA) has worked the opener in each of the Retrievers' first three league series, throwing a complete game to defeat Albany and taking a no-decision against Binghamton and Stony Brook.  Hartford (5-19, 4-5 AE) puts freshman righty Kyle Gauthier on the bump in game one. Gauthier (0-4, 6.61 ERA) took the loss last week against Binghamton after surrendering three runs on nine hits in 7.1 innings of work.

Game two on Saturday will also feature a battle of right-handers as freshman Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) goes up against Hawk junior Brian Hunter.  Mikush (0-3, 8.59) faced just nine batters in three innings against Binghamton in his first start but has not been able to get in the win column, dropping his last three decisions.  Hunter (1-3, 4.91 ERA), meanwhile, did not received a decision in Hartford's 3-1 loss to Binghamton last weekend despite throwing seven shutout innings.

In the finale, the hosts will run Sean Newcomb out to the mound while UMBC has not named a starter following Wednesday's win at UMES.  Newcomb (2-3, 4.91) leads Hartford in wins after picking up the victory in last weekend's 4-3 win over the Bearcats.

Hartford took three of the four games between the two teams last year, all of which were played in Connecticut.  UMBC won game one, 7-3, in a seven-inning affair before the Hawks struck back to take the series with three straight wins.  The Retrievers lead the all-time series 21-15 while maintaining a 19-15 mark in America East play.  Prior to last season, UMBC had won 12 of 16 matchup-ups with Hartford.

UMBC has dropped two of three conference series this season, each of which has come down to a rubber match in the third game.  The Black and Gold started the conference season by taking two of three from Binghamton at Alumni Field but lost the series to Albany and Stony Brook the last two weekends.

The Retrievers' 3-1 win on the Eastern Shore on Wednesday was the club's second-straight victory in non-conference play.  Freshman Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) earned his first career win by throwing a career-high six innings and striking out a career-best five batters. Sophomore Anthony Gatto (Hauppauge, N.Y./Smithtown West) and freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) both went 2-for-4 at the plate while junior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC), freshman Manny Colon (Williamstown, N.J./Buena Regional), and juniorD.J. Smith (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) each drove in a run.

For the season, Lachance leads the team with a .318 average (21-for-66) and sits in second with seven RBI.  Sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) holds the lead with eight RBI after picking up two game-winning hits last week, including his first career homerun against George Washington.  Senior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) received his first day off for the season on Wednesday, but leads the team with a .361 on-base percentage.

Sophomore Kevin Ladner (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) pitched two scoreless innings against UMES to drop his season ERA to 1.74, second-best on the team behind junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) (2-1, 1.69 ERA).  Freshman Mike Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) entered in the ninth to earn his fourth save.

Hartford enters the weekend losers of three out of four, dropping two games last week to Binghamton and losing to Holy Cross, 10-3, on Tuesday.  The Hawks are closing out a seven-game home stand with the series against UMBC and are 4-7 at Fiondella Field this spring.

Sophomore Ryan Lukach leads the Hawk offense with a .290 batting average (18-for-52) to go along with a team-best six doubles and two long balls.  Freshman outfielder Chris DelDebbio has recorded 22 hits to pace the offense while also hitting Hartford's only triple of the season.

The Hartford pitching staff currently sits in sixth in the conference with a 6.48 team ERA.  Freshman closer Jeremy Charles has been effective for the Hawks, recording two saves and posting a 0.93 ERA.

DAWG BITES

-          In their tenth year of America East play, UMBC is 50-163 (.235) in the regular season.

-          UMBC won the first two games played between the schools, 5-0 and 9-4, in a non-conference doubleheader on Mar. 11, 2001 at Alumni Field.

-          The Retrievers also won the first America East contest with the Hawks, 6-2, in Connecticut.

-          UMBC is 11-8 in 19 all-time games at Fiondella Field.

-          The Retrievers scored in the first inning on Wednesday for just the second time this season.  They are getting outscored 18-4 in the first frame.

-          UMBC is 8-7 when no allowing a homerun but 0-4 when the opposition hits at least one long ball.

-          Senior Tom Gilchrist (Olney, Md./Sherwood/Chesapeake CC) hit .429 (6-for-14) with four runs scored in the four-game series last spring.