The Retrievers baseball team appeared to turn a corner on March 5, shutting out Gardner-Webb University 6-0 after suffering from five straight losses. However, the Retrievers once again struggled on the diamond this week with their early missteps that have resulted in a 2-9 record, mirroring their rough start in 2016.
On Wednesday, the Retrievers hosted their crosstown rival Towson University Tigers. The Tigers opened the game with three one-run innings. Late in the game, UMBC showed signs of life. After redshirt sophomore left fielder Zack DeThomasis reached on a fielding error, freshman designated hitter Dalton Stewart smashed a double to left field to get the Retrievers offense going.
This set the stage for freshman shortstop Christian Torres. The youngster singled to left field, scoring both DeThomasis and Stewart to trim the Towson lead to 3-2 in the seventh inning. The Retrievers tied it up in the bottom of the eighth on senior center fielder Andrew Casali’s run batted in (RBI) groundout.
Once the game went into extra innings, the wheels fell off. The Retrievers had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the 10th, and unfortunately, failed to plate any runs.
Towson had no problems scoring the next half inning. The Tigers put up four runs in the top of the 11th. Sophomore catcher Trey Martinez smacked a home run over the left centerfield fence to break the tie and propel the Tigers toward their eventual win. Two batters later, sophomore shortstop Richie Palacios singled home redshirt senior outfielder A.J. Gallo to further the lead to it’s final score, 7-3.
Following the heartbreaking loss to Towson, UMBC headed back out on the road to visit the University of North Carolina Asheville Bulldogs for a three game series. The Bulldogs rode an eight run second inning to an 11-5 victory in the first game, whereas UMBC only mustered one run on five hits after jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first frame.
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader saw another Retrievers rally fall by the wayside. UNC Asheville sprinted to a 6-1 lead through the first four innings.
The Retrievers stormed back though, scoring three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to tie the game. Unfortunately, the bullpen could not hold serve. UNC Asheville senior right fielder Kyle Carruthers served a single back up the middle for the game winning run.
UMBC forced the Bulldogs to put the brooms away and avoided the sweep later that afternoon with an 8-4 victory. The Retrievers posted consecutive two run innings in the third and fourth innings and would not relinquish the lead going forward.
The Bulldogs made it interesting, though. In the bottom of the eighth, senior left fielder Justin Woods clobbered a leadoff home run to right center field to cut into the lead. Four batters later, sophomore infielder Carmine Pagano hit a sacrifice fly bring UNC Asheville to within a run. The Retrievers promptly followed up with a three-run ninth inning to put the game out of reach.
The Retrievers will look to build off of this win. A nine game home stand might be just what the Retrievers need to get back on track. The first game is on Mar. 15, when they host the Naval Academy. Then conference play finally begins on Saturday, when the Retrievers welcome the University of Maine Black Bears to Alumni Field.