The first quarter of the season must feel like a distant past for the UMBC baseball team, particularly on offense. In their games against the Naval Academy Midshipmen and the University of Maine Black Bears, the Retrievers piled on a ton of runs, leading to a 2-1 record this week.
Their Tuesday game against the Midshipmen remained relatively close until they pulled away in the closing stages en route to a 10-1 victory. The Retrievers leaped out to a 3-0 lead after four innings. In the top of the third, junior infielder Jamie Switalski drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring senior center fielder Andrew Casali. One inning later, a Mitchell Carroll (R-Jr.) RBI single and an A.J. Wright (So.) sac fly tacked on two more runs.
Still the game remained within reach for Navy until the last two innings, when the Retrievers plated seven runs on eight hits to put the game away. As it turned out, 10 runs was more than enough on this day. Sophomore starter Jacob Christian allowed no earned runs for the second time this season. He went tossed over six scoreless innings, giving up just four hits while walking two and striking out four. Relievers redshirt junior Connor Staskey and freshman Joe Nahas allowed just one hit the rest of the way, although gave up a combined four bases on balls.
With Saturday’s game cancelled, the Retrievers settled for an afternoon double header with their America East Conference foes. Unfortunately, the stellar pitching did not carry over immediately in New England. In the opener against the Black Bears, the Retrievers blew a 8-4 lead in the seventh inning, ultimately losing 10-7. Even with the impressive showing at the dish, the Retrievers left 10 men on base in the first game.
Ultimately, the pitchers could not keep the Black Bears off base, particularly the relief pitching. Redshirt senior Michael Austin turned in a pretty good performance and did more than enough for his team to win the game. He allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in 5.1 innings. In the final inning and two thirds, redshirt senior Joe Vanderplass and Corey Callahan surrendered six hits and six runs.
Maine and the Retrievers closed out their series with another high scoring affair. This time, the Retrievers pitching did enough to support the offense, giving them a chance to come back and seal a 9-6 win. After the Retrievers took a 3-1 lead in the second, the Black Bears fought back on the strength of a four run fourth. The Retrievers answered back in the top of the sixth with five runs to take the lead for good. It was a complete team effort for the Retrievers, as all but one player recorded a hit against Maine.
Two more road games still loom for the Retrievers as they are set to face the University of Maryland Terrapins and the Towson University Tigers before wrapping up the season at home prior to the America East Tournament.