Graham, Chase Toss Gems In UMBC Twinbill Sweep

Photo: Austin Chase threw a complete game gem in game two with a career-high nine stikeouts.

GAME ONE BOX  I  GAME TWO BOX  I  SEASON STATS

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senior hurlers Kasceim Graham and Austin Chase both went the distance Saturday afternoon at Varsity Field, piloting the University at Albany baseball team to a doubleheader sweep over the visiting UMBC Retrievers. Graham tossed a complete game two-hit shutout with four strikeouts in the seven-inning series opener, as UAlbany won 5-0. In the nightcap, Chase held the Retrievers to just one run and four hits, while striking out a career-high nine batters, leading the Danes to a 10-1 victory.

UAlbany will take a 19-16-1 overall record and 12-8 America East mark into Sunday’s series finale, while UMBC will look to avoid a sweep with a 11-23 mark on the season and 5-15 record in conference play.

Offense was hard to come by early on in the opener, as Graham and UMBC starter Mac Gill dueled through the first four scoreless innings. UAlbany’s bats came alive in the fifth, sparked by Bullard’s one-out double to right field. The Great Danes strung together five consecutive hits, as freshman Evan Harasta and sophomore Joey Tracy followed Bullard with back-to-back singles, plating one, and senior Nolan Gaige knocked an RBI double to left-centerfield. Classmate Greg Muller capped the four-run rally with a single to left, giving UAlbany a 4-0 lead.

The Great Danes tacked on another run in the sixth, as D.J. Hoagboon lined a single up the middle and crossed the plate on Bullard’s double to left.

On the mound, Graham (6-4) closed his complete-game gem with two perfect innings. The senior faced just four over the minimum and did not allow a single runner past first base. Gill (2-4) also threw all seven frames, taking the loss.

Offensively, Hoagboon (2-for-3), Bullard (2-for-3), and Tracy (2-for-2) led the squad with multiple hits in the opener, as the team totaled 11 overall.

The nightcap began much like game one, as Chase and Denis Mikush (1-3) held the bats in check. In the third, UAlbany took the lead, 1-0, as senior Jeff Welsh ripped a double down the left field line and scored on Tracy’s sacrifice fly to right.

UAlbany continued to expand its lead in the fourth, as Muller and Nethaway both lined doubles, plating one, and Bullard belted his second home run of the season over the right field wall, giving the Danes a 4-0 advantage.

The Retrievers’ lone run of the day came in the top of the fifth on Manny Colon’s leadoff solo home run.

From there, the Great Danes rattled UMBC’s pitching staff in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage of three hit batsmen and two walks, all with two outs. With bases loaded, Nethaway brought in a run with a hit by pitch, and Hoagboon followed with a two-out single to center, scoring two more.

UAlbany plated the game’s final three runs in the eighth, as Craig Lepre reached on an error, Tracy and Gaige walked to load the bases, and Muller cleared the bags with a double to the left-centerfield gap.

Chase’s (5-3) gem marked the fourth complete game of his career, as he earned the win. Mikush (1-3) took the loss for UMBC, throwing the first 4.2 frames. The Retrievers used five arms in the game.

Recording 10 hits as a team, Muller (2-for-4) and Hoagboon (2-for-4) both had multi-hit games in the triumph. In the twinbill overall, UAlbany out-hit the Retrievers 21-6.

The conference series finale is set for Sunday at 12:00 p.m. on Varsity Field.