BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team wraps up its five-game home stand on Wednesday with a non-conference game against George Mason at Alumni Field. First pitch between the Retrievers and Patriots is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
The Retrievers will send freshman Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) to the hill for his third-consecutive mid-week start. Stephenson (1-5, 6.55 ERA) has excelled during his last two outings, throwing at least six innings in each, giving up just four earned runs combined and striking out nine. George Mason has not announced a starter in lieu of today's contest versus Georgetown.
Separated by just 51 miles, the two schools have met 56 times since 1972, but have not played each other since 2010. The Patriots won that game 19-2 to take a 43-13 lead in the all-time series.
UMBC (8-18) comes into the mid-week clash on a seven-game skid, having been swept by conference rival Maine over the weekend. The Retrievers last win came in non-conference action when the club traveled across the Chesapeake Bay and defeated UMES 3-1 behind a six-inning effort by Stephenson.
Sophomore infielder Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) heated up during the weekend series, capping it with a 4-for-4 day at the plate on Sunday and hitting his second homerun of the season. For the year Barnes is leading the team with a .292 average (21-for-72) with nine doubles, 10 RBI and the two long balls. Freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) has been an important cog for the Retriever offense as well. Despite his ten-game hit streak ending on Saturday, Lachance paces the club with 27 hits on the campaign.
The Retrievers' pitching staff has kept the Black and Gold in many of the games this season, particularly behind junior John Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) and freshman Mike Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep). Cohn sits behind only Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) in innings pitched, having thrown 33.2 innings this spring to the tune of a 2.41 ERA. Gomez, who made his first career start on Sunday, has struck out a team-best 33 hitters this season including 14 in a 7.1-inning relief effort at Hartford. The freshman right-hander has notched four saves this season.
George Mason (13-23) dropped two of three at home in a three-game CAA series with Towson last weekend and has lost 13 of 15 games heading into the back-to-back dates against Georgetown and UMBC. The Patriots opened the year by losing their first three games, but then went on a five-game win streak, and won six of the next seven, by sweeping Iona and defeating Georgetown, before winning two of three over Fairfield.
Blaise Fernandez leads the way at the plate for a Patriot attack that his hitting .291 as a team following the weekend series with Towson. Fernandez is batting .375 (54-for-144) with 17 of his hits turning into extra-bases (13 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR). Tucker Tobin has provided pop for the Patriots, slamming eight homeruns and driving in a team-high 32 runs.
The Patriots currently sit in last in the CAA with a 6.20 staff ERA. Mark Maksimow has made 15 appearances out of the pen for George Mason, posting a 3-1 record, but a 6.35 ERA. John Williams (2-3, 8.42 ERA) leads the team with three saves while Sean Cabrera (0-2, 8.74 ERA) has earned two saves.
- George Mason has won each of the last two meetings between the clubs with UMBC last defeating the Patriots on May 4, 2005, 5-1, at Alumni Field.
- The Retrievers are 4-7 at Alumni Field this season while the Patriots are 3-12 in road contests.
- UMBC is 0-3 against CAA opposition this season (0-2 vs. Delaware; 0-1 vs. Towson).
- Stephenson has thrown a career-high innings in each of his last two starts (6.0 vs. UMES; 6.1 vs. Delaware).
- The Retrievers are 5-5 when scoring first this season, but 3-13 when the opponent crosses the plate first.