Stephenson and Maxey Combine to Blank Coppin State, 6-0; UMBC Sweeps Season Series

Freshman Riley Stephenson
Freshman Riley Stephenson
 

BALTIMORE – Freshman Riley Stephenson (Frederick, Md./Boonsboro) threw a career-high seven innings and classmate Cam Maxey (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) finished off the shutout as UMBC blanked Coppin State, 6-0, Thursday evening at Joe Cannon Stadium.

UMBC (14-27) picks up the season sweep over Coppin State (16-31) with the win after earning a 2-1 victory in 12 innings back on Apr. 23 at Alumni Field.

The Retriever offense pounded out 11 hits to record its third-straight game with ten or more base knocks.  Freshman Kevin Lachance (Clifton, Va./Centreville) led way for the Black and Gold, recording his second career four-hit contest.

Stephenson (2-7) earns his second career win after allowing just four hits in the seven scoreless innings.  The freshman struck out two batters while walking two as well.  Maxey did not allow a hit in two innings and struck out two.

Myles Taylor took the loss for Coppin State, yielding three runs on five hits in 4.2 innings of work.

The pitchers were in control in the early going, not allowing more than one base runner in each of the first three innings.  The Retrievers made a bid to break the deadlock in the fourth as Lachance reached on an infield single, moved to second on a sac bunt, and took third on a wild pitch. Sophomore Anthony Gatto (Hauppauge, N.Y./Smithtown West) drew a five-pitch walk, but a 6-4-3 twin killing ended the threat.

Stephenson sent Coppin down in order in the bottom half, and his offense responded in the very next inning. 

Junior D.J. Smith (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) led off with a walk and sophomore Vince Corbi (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) followed by lacing a single to left.  After freshman Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) reached on a bunt to load the bases, UMBC cracked the score column as the hosts opted to turn a 4-6-3 double play and allow Smith to score.  The rally was not over as sophomore Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) hooked a double into the left field corner to drive in Corbi from third.  Lachance made it two hits in two innings by driving a single up the middle and Barnes raced around from second to make the lead 3-0.

That was all the support Stephenson needed as the rookie worked around a lead-off single by Jack Kraft to keep the shutout in the bottom of the fifth.  Kraft was the only Eagle to record a multi-hit effort against the Retriever tandem.

UMBC padded the lead in the sixth, scoring two more runs to push the lead to 5-0.  Gatto starting the inning off by pushing a single through the right side, and then stole second and third, bracketing a walk to sophomore Ian Glassman (Basking Ridge, N.J./Rutgers Prep), to put runners on first and third with no outs.  The lead grew as Gatto ran home and Glassman took second on a wild pitch.  Following a strike out, Corbi reached on a throwing error and Esposito dropped down another bunt, this time driving in Glassman with a sacrifice effort.

Coppin State loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half, but Stephenson induced a fly out to right to kill the rally.

UMBC added an insurance run in the top of the seventh as Lachance and junior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale) notched back-to-back base hits.  After a strike out, the runners attempted a double steal, but Lachance was thrown out.  Glassman and Smith did not allow the chance to go to waste, however, sending two straight hits to left to bring in Coluccio.

The Eagles put runners on in each of the final three frames, but Stephenson and Maxey stranded a runner each time.

UMBC now returns home for a three-game America East series against Hartford this weekend at Alumni Field.  The Retrievers and Hawks are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday and complete the set with a single game on Sunday.

DAWG BITES

-          UMBC moves to 41-1 all-time against Coppin State.

-          The Retrievers surrendered just one run in 21 innings over the course of the two games against the Eagles this season.

-          The shutout is UMBC's third of the season after holding Binghamton scoreless on Mar. 17 (2-0) and Apr. 21 (1-0).  Prior to this season, UMBC had not blanked an opponent since a 5-0 win over NJIT on Mar. 19, 2009 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

-          This is the third time that the Retrievers have won back-to-back games this season.

-          UMBC finishes 6-2 against in-state opponents this spring.  Each of the Retrievers' four series against Old Line opponents ended in a sweep (2-0 vs. Coppin State, 2-0 vs. Mount St. Mary's, 2-0 vs. UMES, 0-2 vs. Towson).

-          Lachance now leads the club with 13 multi-hit games this season.

-          Coluccio and Lachance are both riding six-game hit streaks.

-          Gatto is now 10-for-12 in stolen base attempts this season.