UMBC Baseball Welcomes Albany for Three-Game Weekend Set; Series Starts Saturday at 3:30

Sophomore Kevin Ladner
Sophomore Kevin Ladner

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BALTIMORE – The UMBC baseball team looks to continue its strong early season weekend form with a three-game set against America East rival Albany this weekend at Alumni Field.  The Retrievers and Great Danes will play a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 3:30 p.m., followed by a single game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.

For the fourth-straight weekend, junior Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) will take the mound for UMBC in the series opener.  The right-hander is 1-0 this season with a 3.44 ERA after going six innings and giving up four runs in a no-decision last Saturday versus Binghamton.  Gill will be opposed by sophomore righty Cameron Sorgie (1-0, 4.71 ERA). In his last outing, Sorgie came out of the pen in game one against Hartford and threw six innings, yielding just three runs on three hits to earn the win.

Game two will pit youth against experience as UMBC freshman Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) faces Albany senior Kasceim Graham (2-2, 3.92).  Mikush made his season debut last weekend by shutting out Binghamton over the course of three innings of work.  Graham, meanwhile, was a tough-luck loser at Hartford, going 7.1 innings and surrendering just one earned run.

Freshman Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) takes the mound for the Retrievers in Sunday's finale while Albany has yet to determine a starter.  Stephenson is 0-2 in two starts this season, falling to Indiana on the opening weekend of the season and taking the loss at Towson on Wednesday.

UMBC and Albany clashed four times last year in America East play, with all of the games coming at Alumni Field in back-to-back doubleheaders.  On day one, the visitors struck first by claiming the opener, but the Retrievers leveled the series late into the night as Jason Allinder (Snow Hill, Md./Snow Hill/Chesapeake CC) lined a ball off of the first base bag in the bottom of the tenth, bringing in two runs for the walk-off win.  Albany took the series, however, by sweeping Sunday's twin bill.

Albany leads the all-time series with UMBC, 23-9, and has won eight of the last nine meetings between the clubs.  The two schools first met on Apr. 9, 2004, UMBC's first season in the America East, and they split a doubleheader.

The Retrievers (4-7, 2-1 AE) enter the weekend winners of four of their last five weekend games, sweeping Mount St. Mary's in a home-and-home two-game set on Mar. 9-10 and then taking two of three from conference foe Binghamton last weekend.  During the mid-week, UMBC was edged by local rival Towson in a 2-0 pitchers' duel.

Junior outfielder Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) leads the everyday players with a .361 batting average (13-for-36) with a team-best 13 hits and nine runs scored.  Transfer Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC), last week's America East Player of the Week, has forced his way into the lineup and has produced for UMBC.  The catcher/designated hitter is hitting at a .391 clip (9-for-23) in eight games this season, with two doubles and four RBI.

Out of the bullpen, junior Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) and sophomore Kevin Ladner(Succsunna, N.J./Roxbury) have provided steady relief for the Black and Gold.  In the series finale against Binghamton, Cohn entered in the fourth in relief of Mikush and preserved the shutout for the freshman, throwing four innings of scoreless baseball and earning the win.  Ladner, meanwhile, has thrown 10.1 innings this season and has surrendered just two earned runs on seven hits. 

Albany (4-9, 1-2 AE) comes to Baltimore after its home-opener on Tuesday against Marist was cancelled due to rain.  The Great Danes dropped two of three last weekend at Hartford to start conference play.

Freshman catcher Evan Harasta leads a balanced Danes attack with a .310 average (9-for-29) with two doubles and nine RBI.  Josh Nethaway has provided some pop for the Albany lineup, hitting four doubles and driving in a team-best ten runs.

Sophomore lefty Andrew Jaurique leads the Albany bullpen with a 2.08 ERA in four appearances this season.  Freshman Ryan Stinar (Forest Hill, Md.) has recorded two saves for the Great Danes.

DAWG BITES

-          After last weekend's series, UMBC is 48-161 (.230) all-time in America East play.

-          UMBC last defeated Albany in a series in 2008 when the Retrievers took three of four at Alumni Field (May 2-4).

-          The Retrievers have played errorless baseball in each of the last three games.  The last time UMBC had a streak of three or more games without an error was a six-game streak from Mar. 12-24, 2006.

-          Sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) went 3-for-6 in three games against Albany last season.

-          Barnes currently owns a four-game hitting streak, the longest on the team.