CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The UMBC baseball team has been selected sixth by the coaches of the America East in the 2014 America East Preseason poll, the conference office announced on Tuesday morning.
2013 Tournament champion Binghamton and 2012 winner Stony Brook tied for the top spot, each receiving three first-place votes and compiling 31 points. Behind the Bearcats and the Seawolves, last season's regular season champions Maine accumulated 28 points, while Hartford came in at fourth after receiving the final first-place vote and 23 points.
Albany was voted fifth with 17 points while the Retrievers (9 pts.) and UMass Lowell (8 pts.) rounded out the preseason rankings.
UMBC made an eight-win improvement in 2013 under head coach Bob Mumma, who enters his third season in charge of his alma mater this spring. Last season, the Retrievers lowered their overall team earned-run-average (ERA) (4.78) by over four points from 2012 (9.01), while winning seven more conference games than the previous season.
Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America selection Kevin Lachance(Clifton, Va./Centreville) returns for his sophomore campaign to anchor the UMBC defense from shortstop. Lachance, also an America East All-Conference Second Team and All-Rookie Team honoree, hit a team-best .303 with 12 doubles, two triples, and one homerun last season. He also led the Black and Gold in hits (53) and RBI (19).
The Retrievers also welcome back 2013 America East All-Conference First Team selection Jon Cohn (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep), a reliever, and Second Team member Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township.Brookdale CC), a catcher and designated hitter. In addition, sophomore pitcher Mike Gomez (Nutley, N.J./Don Bosco Prep), a 2013 All-Rookie Team member, returns to a Retriever rotation which welcomes redshirt-sophomore Joe Vanderplas (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax/Tennessee), a transfer from Tennessee and two-time Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League All-Star, to its ranks.
UMBC opens the 2014 season with a three-game series at William & Mary from Feb. 28-March 2. The Retrievers then head to South Carolina for the Myrtle Beach Hyundai Classic to take on UNC-Greensboro (March 8) and Elon (March 8-9) before returning to Maryland to host Navy at Alumni Field on March 13.