Hartford Outlasts UMBC Baseball to Sweep America East Doubleheader

Sophomore Vince Corbi
Sophomore Vince Corbi

WEST HARTFORD, CONN. – Adam Touhey hit a one-out single to left in the bottom of the 16th, bringing in Ryan Lukach with the winning run as Hartford outlasted UMBC, 3-2, in the longest America East game this season, and sweep the doubleheader, Saturday afternoon at Fiondella Field.

Hartford (7-19, 6-5 AE) claimed the series opener over UMBC (8-12, 4-7 AE), 8-3, in a seven-inning affair to start the day.

Freshman Kyle Gauthier (1-4) pitched a complete game for Hartford in the first game of the day, yielding three runs on five hits to earn the win.

Junior Mac Gill (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) took the loss (2-1) after lasting just 2.1 innings and surrendering seven runs on eight hits.

The Retrievers got things going quickly as sophomore Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) was hit by a pitch with one down and freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) continued his hit-streak with a single to right-center.  After sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) reached on a fielding error and the Hawks got a line out, sophomore Ian Glassman (Basking Ridge, N.J./Rutgers Prep) cashed in by drawing a bases-loaded walk.

Hartford started the seesaw battle by leveling the game with a run in the bottom half of the inning.  UMBC then continued it as a hit-by-pitch once again started it with junior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) getting plunked with one away.  McCabe stole second and then came around to score on an RBI single to center by Corbi.

In the bottom half, Hartford tagged Gill for two runs to take the lead 3-2, following a triple by Nick Dummar and an RBI ground-out.

The Retrievers did not go away, however, as Lachance led off the inning by singling up the middle. He moved to second on a grounder to the second-baseman, and then rounded the bases to tie the score at 3-3 on Glassman's base-knock to right.

The Hawks put the game away in the bottom of the third, though, scoring four times and knocking Gill out of the game.  UMBC could only manage just one hit in the next four innings and Hartford tacked on a run in the fourth to round out the scoring.

Game two, which started at 2:25 p.m., turned into a night cap as the 16-inning game lasted four hours and two minutes and finally ended on the Touhey single.  The pitching staffs dominated as the two lineups combined for just 18 hits and five runs in the contest.

The game started routinely enough as UMBC starter Denis Mikush (Burke, Va./Robinson) and Hawk starter Brian Hunter allowed just three hits combined in the first five innings.

UMBC made the breakthrough in the top of the sixth with Corbi drawing a lead-off walk.  Lachance followed with a triple, the first of his career, to bring around Corbi and break the deadlock.  A fielding error and fielder's choice put runners on first and third and junior Brandon Colucci (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) made the pressure count by bringing home Barnes with a single to center to push the lead to 2-0.

The lead lasted until the eighth when Hartford got to UMBC relievers Kevin Ladner (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) and Mike Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco).  The Hawks got a man on third with two outs when Gomez entered, and then knotted the game at 2-2 on a double and single by back-to-back hitters.

UMBC got a runner on base in each of the next four innings, but could not bring him around to snap the tie ballgame.

The hosts looked poised to take the walk-off win in the 11th, gaining two base-runners on back-to-back singles to open the inning.  Gomez was able to composed himself, though, and earned a strike out and then induced two fly outs to end the threat.

Both staffs continued to work out of trouble until Hartford ended the marathon game in the 16th.

UMBC and Hartford will return to the field on Sunday for the series finale.  First pitch at Fiondella Field is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

DAWG BITES

-          With the doubleheader sweep, Hartford cuts UMBC's lead in the all-time series to 21-17.

-          Hartford has now won five straight games in the series.

-          The 16-inning game is the longest game for UMBC since playing 16 innings against Old Dominion on Feb. 27, 2005.

-          Lachance's sixth-inning triple in game two extended his hit streak to eight games.

-          Freshman Jesse Smith (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) earned his first career hit with a single to center in the 11th inning of game two.

-          The Retrievers' run in the top of the first of game one marks the third time this season that they scored in the first inning.