Baseball Heads to Towson for Beltway Clash on Wednesday Afternoon

Freshman Riley Stephenson
Freshman Riley Stephenson

BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team continues its mid-week, non-conference slate by traveling around the Beltway to face Towson on Wednesday, Mar. 20.  First pitch between the Retrievers and Tigers is set for 3:30 p.m. at Schuerholz Park.

Freshman Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) will make his second start of the season for UMBC and will be opposed by Towson right-hander Nik Nowottnick.  Stephenson (0-1, 9.00 ERA) lost his first decision in a Retriever uniform, surrendering  four earned runs on six hits over four innings against Indiana in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Mar. 3.  Nowottnick is 1-0 this season with a 4.05 ERA in three appearances.

UMBC and Towson only met once last year with the Tigers winning 11-0 at home on Mar. 7.  Towson used seven pitchers to combine for the two-hit shutout.  The teams were scheduled to meet again on May 9 at Alumni Field, but the game was called due to rain.

Towson owns a 45-35-1 advantage over UMBC in the all-time series.  The 81 contests with the Tigers is the second-most in Retriever program history, trailing only the all-time series with Mount St. Mary's which has been contested on 86 occasions.  The two schools first met in 1970 with UMBC taking a 5-1 decision over its Beltway rival.  Towson, however, has had the better of the series as of late, winning 14 of the last 15 games, with the Retrievers winning 13-7 at home in 2011.

UMBC (4-6) enters the mid-week tilt coming off of its first-ever conference series win against Binghamton.  The Retrievers took the series opener, as well as the finale for its first series win in league play since 2010.  The Retrievers have won four of their last six games, sweeping Mount St. Mary's on Mar. 9-10, but falling to Georgetown last Wednesday.

Junior catcher Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold/Brookdale CC) hit .636 (7-for-11) against the Bearcats, with two doubles, three RBI, and three runs scored, and was named the conference's Player of the Week.  Junior outfielder Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) has paced the Retriever lineup throughout the season and ranks second in the America East with a .382 average (13-for-34).

Out of the bullpen, junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) has made five appearances for UMBC.  His latest was a four-inning stint in game two on Sunday in which he finished freshman Denis Mikush's shutout, the first for the Retrievers since 2009.  Freshman Mike Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) has come out of the pen seven times and has recorded three saves.

Towson (11-7) swept Hofstra in a three-game series in Hempstead, N.Y. this past weekend.  The Tigers scored at least 14 runs in each of the games while yielding a combined 15 runs in the series.  Towson's game against Longwood scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 19 was rained out.

Two-time CAA Player of the Week Dominic Fratantuono leads the Tiger attack with a .413 average (31-for-75) in 18 games played.  The junior outfielder also leads the team with 25 RBI while sitting second with three homeruns and tied for third with 15 runs scored.

Senior lefty Mike Ryan is 5-1 this season with a 2.57 ERA in eight appearances out of the bullpen. Junior Chris Acker and sophomore Nick Cioffi have each notched one save for the Tigers.

DAWG BITES

-          Coluccio's Player of the Week award is the first for UMBC since 2008 when Shawn Retz received the honor on May 5.

-          Sophomore Ian Glassman (Basking Ridge, N.J./Rutgers Prep) went 1-for-2 while also drawing two walks against Towson last year.

-          Towson owns the longest winning-streak in the series, a 13-game run from 2004-2011.

-          McCabe enters Tuesday's game on a seven-game hitting streak.  Over that span he is batting .542 (13-for-22) with four multi-hit games.

-          UMBC continues league play this weekend by hosting Albany for a three-game series at Alumni Filed.