UMBC Baseball Clipped by Towson, 4-2

Freshman Kevin Lachance
Freshman Kevin Lachance

BALTIMORE – UMBC freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) went 2-for-4 to earn his ninth multi-hit game of the season but the UMBC baseball team dropped a 4-2 decision to local rival Towson, Wednesday evening at Alumni Field.

With the win, Towson (22-22) sweeps the two-game season series from UMBC (11-25) after winning 2-0 back on Mar. 20 at Schuerholz Park.

Making his first start of the season, Mike Bronakoski (1-0) earned the win after pitching five innings and giving up just one run on three hits.  Brandon Gonnella, who played the first eight innings in centerfield and went 1-for-4 at the plate, took the mound in the ninth and recorded his second save of the year.

Freshman Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) also threw five innings, but took the loss for the Retrievers after yielding three runs on six hits.  The rookie righty struck out three batters but also walked three.

Both pitchers worked around singles in the first to keep the game scoreless and Bronakoski avoided giving up a run in the second despite hitting junior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC), the lead-off batter, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch.

The Tigers responded in the third by spotting their starter a 2-0 lead as Kurt Wertz, Jr. singled through the right side with two down to bring in Brendan Butler and Kurtis Voytell who had singled and walked, respectively.

UMBC answered right away, cutting the lead in half in the bottom part of the inning.  Sophomore Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) led off by slapping a single to right and moved to second as the next batter, freshman Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional), laid down a sac bunt.  Corbi took third on a ground-out to second-base, and then raced home as a wild pitch dropped third strike got away from Towson catcher Zach Fisher.

Towson restored its two-run lead in the fourth by pushing across a single run.  Pat Fitzgerald reached on an infield single to start the inning and then took second on a wild pitch.  Two batters later, Dominic Fratantuono laced a single up the middle to plate Fitzgerald.

Neither team scored in the fifth, but in the sixth, the hosts got to reliever Sean Bertrand to once again cut the lead to just one at 3-2.  With one away, Lachance went the other way for a single.  The freshman shortstop then stole second and took third as an errant throw from Fisher went into center.  Coluccio followed by bouncing a grounder to second, allowing Lachance to cross the plate.

After a scoreless seventh, Towson once again pushed the lead to two as a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded brought in Fisher from third.

The Retrievers made one last push in the ninth as Coluccio shot a one-out single just inside the first base bag.  Freshman Jesse Smith (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) pinch-ran for the junior and advanced to second on a ground-out to short.  UMBC could not pull any closer however, as another 6-3 putout ended the threat.

UMBC continues its five-game home stand with a weekend series against America East rival Stony Brook.  The Retrievers and Seawolves will play a doubleheader on Saturday followed by a single game to cap the series on Sunday.

DAWG BITES

-          Towson now leads the all-time series 47-35-1 and has won 16 of the last 17 matchups.

-          Tonight's game was the first between UMBC and Towson at Alumni Field since May 10, 2011.

-          The Retrievers had not scored against the Tigers since that game in 2011.

-          Lachance is now tied with Coluccio and junior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) for the team lead with nine multi-hit games.

-          McCabe went 0-for-4 tonight to snap his six-game hit streak.

-          Freshman Cam Maxey (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) pitched a perfect two innings.