Maine Clinches Series with Doubleheader Sweep of UMBC

Junior Brandon Coluccio
Junior Brandon Coluccio

BALTIMORE – UMBC junior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) lined a 1-2 pitch up the middle with two down in the ninth to drive in two and knot the game at 7-7, but Maine's Eric White answered with his third homerun of the day to give the Black Bears the doubleheader sweep, Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.

Maine (20-14, 10-3 AE) took the opener with a 19-0 victory behind a staff two-hit shutout.

Coluccio went 2-for-5 in game number two to pace UMBC (8-17, 4-10 AE) who has now dropped its last six contests.

The Retrievers fell behind early in the second game as Maine got on the board with a single run in the top of the first and added three more in the second for a 4-0 lead.

The lead did not last long, however, as UMBC plated five in the in the bottom half of the frame. Coluccio initiated the rally with a single to left-center and took third in a botched double play ball off the bat of Jason Allinder (Snow Hill, Md./Snow Hill/Chesapeake CC).  Following a strike out, senior Tom Gilchrist (Olney, Md./Sherwood/Chesapeake CC) got the hosts on the board by poking a single through the right side.  Sophomore Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) singled to load the bases, and all of the runners came home to score as sophomore Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) laid down a bunt which the third basemen fielded and threw into the right-field corner.  McCabe also crossed the plate as the ball was then overthrown when coming back into the infield.

Maine punched right back in the top of the third, scoring two and re-taking the lead 6-5 as Brian Doran scored on a passed ball.  Maine starter A.J. Bazdanes and UMBC reliever Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) then took control, not allowing a run until the Black Bears extended their lead to 7-5 on an RBI-single by Sam Balzano in the top of the eighth.

Though down to their last out and last strike, the Retrievers would not go quietly.  After a fly out, McCabe and sophomore Ian Glassman (Basking Ridge, N.J./Rutgers Prep) drew back-to-back walks to start the rally.  Maine then went to the bullpen and Luke Morrill recorded a strike out to put two away, but McCabe and pinch-runner D.J. Smith (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) pulled off a double steal to put runners on second and third.  The next batter, sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) was hit by a pitch, bringing Coluccio to the plate who provided the game-tying hit.

The comeback proved to be for naught, though, as White led off the top of the tenth with the round-tripper to left off of Cohn.

In the bottom half, Corbi lined a single up the middle with two down, but a fielder's choice ended the would-be rally and the game.

Earlier in the day, Maine starter Tommy Lawrence (6-2) threw five scoreless innings, allowing just one base-runner on a one-out single in the second, to pick up the win.  Relievers Burk FitzPatrick and Morrill shut the door the rest of the away, completing the shutout and allowing just one hit between the two of them.

White went 4-for-5 at the plate in the first contest of the day, rapping two homeruns, scoring four runs and driving in four more to lead the visitors.  Kyle Silva also hit a long ball for the Black Bears while going a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI and four runs scored.

UMBC and Maine conclude their three-game America East series with a single game tomorrow at Alumni Field.  First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

DAWG BITES

-          With the wins, Maine leads the all-time series with UMBC 33-3.  The Black Bears have now won 18-straight games in the series.

-          UMBC has now lost its last seven America East Games.

-          Cohn pitched a career-high 7.1 innings in game two.  His previous high was his six-inning effort at George Washington earlier this season.

-          Freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) was held hitless in the first game, snapping his ten-game hit streak.  He went 1-for-5 in game two with a double.

-          The Retrievers were outhit in both games and have now been on the lower end of the hit totals in 22 of 25 games this season.

-          This was UMBC's first extra-inning game at Alumni Field since Apr. 20, 2012 when the Retrievers defeated Albany 5-4 in ten innings.

-          Sophomores Robert Hopp (Catonsville, Md./Catonsville) and Luke Seppi (Annapolis, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) made their season debuts, each getting an at-bat in the ninth inning of game one.