It has been seven long years since UMBC’s men’s baseball team qualified for the America East Tournament. Players have come and gone and even long-time coach John Lancuska retired in that time.
For the first time since, not only did the Retrievers qualify for the tournament, but they stormed in with an agenda. The team entered the tournament with a 10-2 record in May and for the first time since 2002, they earned more than 30 wins in a season, with a 32-18, 14-10 America East record.
Four qualifying schools played in the double elimination tournament at LeLacheur Park in Maine, home to the Lowell Spinners.
The Retrievers quickly earned their first win of the tournament against the University of Maine. The Retrievers defeated them 9-5, thanks to an early scoring spree. The team scored the runs starting in the second inning with a double home run by sophomore Connor Hax.
The team’s next game did not go as smoothly. They faced Stony Brook University to qualify for the championship match. Both teams were on the board by the third inning, scoring three runs each. The Retrievers led Stony Brook to the game-winning score by an error, ending it 3-4.
However, the Retrievers were not ready to give up yet. Next, they faced Hartford University in a match for the last spot in the championship game. The Retrievers dominated Hartford throughout the game, earning their spot in the championship 10-2.
In the game against Hartford, Senior Vince Corbi continued his impressive season, heavily contributing to the one-sided match. Corbi went to bat five times, earning two hits, two runs and two runs batted in.
Finally, the championship game came and brought a rematch with Stony Brook along with it. The game turned into a high scoring affair between the two powerhouses, ending in a 16-11 win for Stony Brook.
The Retrievers got the scoring started with a walk-off single from junior Kevin LaChance. The team continued the scoring and took an early 7-0 lead, normally a death sentence in baseball. However, Stony Brook quickly retaliated in the second inning by scoring 11 runs of their own.
The two teams continued to go back and forth throughout the game, but Stony Brook earned the game winning runs in the fourth inning. Sophomore Toby Handley and senior Cole Peragine scored the game winning runs for Stony Brook, extending their lead to 13.
Despite only taking second place in the tournament, the Retrievers and their 34 wins are the second most in the program’s history.