Retrievers Head to Long Island for Three-Game Series against Stony Brook Beginning Friday

Junior Jon Cohn
Junior Jon Cohn

BALTIMORE – Coming off of a mid-week non-conference win at George Washington on Wednesday, the UMBC baseball team returns to America East action with a three-game set at Stony Brook beginning on Friday.  The Retrievers and Seawolves will face-off at Joe Nathan Field once on Friday with a 3:00 p.m. start and will then play two for a Saturday doubleheader with a 12:00 p.m. first pitch.

Junior Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) once again gets the call to start the series opener and he will be opposed by righty Brandon McNitt.  Last weekend, Gill (2-0 3.55 ERA) threw a complete-game and earned the win against Albany in a 4-3, seven-inning affair.  McNitt (1-2, 4.26 ERA) was no-decisioned in his last start after surrendering seven runs on five hits to Binghamton.

On Saturday, freshman Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) will make his third start of the season and face Seawolf right-hander Frankie Vanderka.  After facing the minimum nine batters over three innings in his first outing, Mikush (0-1, 5.06 ERA) was touched for three runs on three hits and took the loss against the Great Danes.  Vanderka (3-2, 1.65 ERA), meanwhile, went the distance in a 4-1 win against Binghamton in his last start, limiting the Bearcats to just one run on seven hits.

In the finale, freshman Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) heads to the hill to battle against Daniel Zamora.  In last weekend's final game against Albany, Stephenson (0-3, 9.90 ERA) matched his career-high by pitching four innings, but took the loss after giving up five runs on eight hits.  Zamora (0-5, 5.59 ERA) also lost his last start, yielding five runs on six hits in four innings of work.

Stony Brook won all six meetings between the two clubs last year, sweeping the Retrievers first in Baltimore in late April and then again at home in mid-May.  With the six wins, the Seawolves increased their lead in the all-time series to 34-7.  All but one of the games between UMBC and Stony Brook have come during America East regular season play, with the teams meeting during the 2008 conference tournament in Farmingdale, N.Y. for the other contest.

UMBC enters the weekend with a 6-9 mark overall and a 3-3 record in conference play.  The Retrievers started the 30-game conference schedule by taking two of three from Binghamton at Alumni Field, but then dropped two games last weekend against Albany, also at home.

In the mid-week clash with GW, sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) hit his first career homerun to break a 1-1 tie in the top of the sixth as the Retrievers went on to win 4-1.  After coming on in the fourth inning, junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) pitched six scoreless innings to improve to 2-0 on the year.

Barnes leads the club with a .278 average (10-for-36) in 13 games played this spring.  Junior outfielder Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) has been steady at the plate for the Retrievers recording a .352 on-base percentage and scoring a team-best ten runs.  In 12 games played this season, transfer Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) has hit .345 (10-for-29) with five RBI.

Cohn, along with sophomore Kevin Ladner (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) and freshman Mike Gomez(Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) anchor a young, but efficient bullpen.  Cohn is 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA while Ladner sits at 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA over 14.2 innings and Gomez has notched three saves.

Stony Brook (7-16, 2-4 AE) lost to St. John's on Tuesday at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, and has now lost six of its last eight games after making the College World Series in 2012.  The Seawolves have lost each of their first two conference series, both at home, to Maine and Binghamton.

Freshman infielder Jack Parenty paces the Seawolves' lineup with a .377 batting average (23-for-61) and 11 runs scored over the course of 20 games played.  Senior outfielder Tanner Nivins has driven in a team-best ten runs while hitting one triple and one homerun.

Out of the pen, freshman Tyler Honahan has recorded three saves on the year but has an 0-3 record with a 6.75 ERA.  Junior lefty Josh Barry has received the call five times this season and has registered a 1.59 ERA over 11.1 innings of work.

DAWG BITES

-          UMBC won the first meeting between the two schools, 7-6, on May 15, 2004.  After Stony Brook won the middle game, the Retrievers took the series with a 13-10 win in the finale.

-          Stony Brook won the conference tournament game in 2008, 4-3.

-          The Retrievers are 3-3 against teams from New York this season, with all of the games coming against conference opponents (1-2 vs. Albany; 2-1 vs. Binghamton).

-          The Retrievers have six wins in their first 15 games for their best record since a 6-9 record to start the 2008 season.

-          Sophomore Anthony Gatto (Hauppauge, N.Y./Smithtown West) hit .455 (10-for-22) in the six games against Stony Brook last year.