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UMBC baseball series comes down to extras

The UMBC Retrievers baseball team entered the weekend in last place in the conference with an incredible opportunity to take down America East leaders Stony Brook, entering the series 11-4 in conference and 22-14 overall. After UMBC was previously swept by the Seawolves, this season, the Retrievers would seek revenge on their home turf looking to improve their conference record. In Game 1, UMBC freshman-pitcher Cooper Adams and Stony Brook pitcher Greg Marino were able to keep offenses quiet through the first three innings. The Seawolves were finally able to hit Adams in the fourth and fifth innings piling up five runs. UMBC’s only offense in Game 1 came in the fifth inning with a two-RBI double by senior-outfielder Terrence Pinkston and an RBI groundout by senior-infielder AJ Wright. Seawolves pitchers quieted Retriever bats for the remainder of the game.

Stony Brook once again exploded in the sixth inning with four runs to extend the lead to 9-3. They tallied extra runs in the eighth and ninth innings off a solo home run and RBI groundout. They were able to take Game 1 by an 11-3 margin, while UMBC was unable to generate any offense off Seawolves pitchers Marino and Adam Erickson in Game 1 of the doubleheader. Every Stony Brook hitter was able to reach base, but UMBC would look to bounce back in Game 2.

The Seawolves picked up where they left off in Game 1 and put up five runs in the top of the first inning. Nick Grande drove redshirt freshman-pitcher Nick Trabacchi’s second pitch of the game out of the park for a home run. The following runs came in from a two-RBI double, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. UMBC came back and won the game despite being down 4-0 against second-place Hartford last weekend and would be put to the test again. In the bottom half of the first, Wright was able to bring in Pinkston for a run to cut the Stony Brook lead back to 5-1.

In the top of the second inning, once again, Grande hit a leadoff home run to extend the Seawolves lead back to five runs. UMBC was able to cut the lead back to four in the bottom half of the fourth inning due to sophomore-infielder Joey Goodwin’s RBI single. After the first two innings, Trabacchi settled in and pitched three straight hitless innings.

UMBC’s offense erupted in the fourth inning with an RBI groundout by Goodwin and RBI singles by freshman-infielders Blaze O’Saben and Pinkston. They two freshmen continue their phenomenal seasons with O’Saben and Pinkston hitting .279 and .345 respectively, cutting cut the UMBC deficit down to one. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Wright led off with another hit and junior-catcher Colin Casey scored Wright from first on an RBI double to tie the game at six. O’Saben struck out to get Stony Brook pitcher Aaron Glickstein out of the bases loaded jam.

Redshirt junior-pitcher Stephen Schoch would enter the game at the top of the sixth inning keeping the score tied. In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Pinkston would lead the inning off with a walk. Wright would drive Stony Brook pitcher Sam Turcotte’s first pitch of the game out of the park for a go-ahead two-run home run. Once again the Seawolves would leave Retriever runners stranded, but the damage was done, and Schoch ended the game on a strikeout to win the game 8-6.

Schoch picked up the win to continue his phenomenal 5-2 season campaign. He finished the second game of the doubleheader a triple shy of the cycle, tallying two runs. Senior-outfielder Raven Beeman finished with two runs on the afternoon. UMBC’s comeback win would improve their record to 20-20, setting up a rubber match against the Seawolves in Game 3.

After a clean first inning, UMBC’s Joe Milkowski was able to hit an RBI double in the second inning, scoring Goodwin. Later in the third inning, Wright continued where he left off in Game 2 and hit an RBI double scoring Pinkston. Stony Brook’s pitcher was able to settle in after the third inning. However, UMBC was able to command the game with a 2-0 lead thanks to UMBC junior-pitcher Bryan Gilliam who pitched a phenomenal five innings, only allowing three hits and one earned run.

The Seawolves picked up their first run in the sixth inning via an RBI double by Johnny Decker to cut their deficit to one, and senior-pitcher Andy Rozylowicz was able to escape the jam in the sixth inning. Stony Brook tied the game in the seventh inning after a controversial balk call that would eventually allow Brandon Janofsky to score on a wild pitch. Schoch would enter the game for the second time this weekend in the eighth inning, getting out of jams in the last two innings with runners in scoring position.

UMBC would then have the chance to win the series against first-place Stony Brook in the bottom of the ninth inning. A walk by Goodwin with one out would give the Retrievers a chance to score the game winner. Turcotte got out of the inning and would need free baseball to decide the series winner in Baltimore. For the first time this season, UMBC would need extra innings to decide the winner, having a wonderful opportunity to take the first place foe.

After having runners on first and second base with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, Colin Casey grounded out to end the threat. In the top of the 11th inning, Stony Brook used stationary baseball to score the go-ahead run by Dylan Resk single preceding a sacrifice bunt, deep flyball to advance the runner to third and an RBI single. With the last chance to extend the game for UMBC in the bottom of the 11th, Beeman led the inning off with a single and was eventually advanced to second base with a sacrifice bunt. However, sophomore-infielder Andres Machado ended the game with a strikeout. In the most contested game of the series, UMBC fell short 3-2 to lose the rubber match.

The Retrievers fall to 20-21 overall and 6-12 in conference and remain last place in the America East. The Retrievers will have another home conference series next weekend as they face Binghamton this Saturday at Alumni Field. With only two conference series remaining for UMBC, they will need to seek a series win in order to chase down UMass Lowell or Maine in the conference tournament race, as only six teams will compete in the 2019 America East Tournament.