Baseball Splits With UMBC In Conference-Opening Doubleheader
BALTIMORE – In the America East Conference opening weekend, the University at Albany baseball team rallied from a 3-2 walk-off defeat Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field to overcome the hosting UMBC Retrievers 9-7 in the nightcap. Redshirt senior Josh Nethaway and sophomore Matt Hinchy belted a pair of three-run home runs to lift the Great Danes (2-7, 1-1) to their second win of the spring, while UMBC fell to 3-7 on the season.
Accruing 13 hits as a team in the seven-inning game two, sophomore Evan Harasta led the Danes with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, including an RBI and two runs scored. Nethaway, Hinchy, Brian Bullard, and Craig Lepre each logged two hits apiece.
On the mound, junior Cameron Sorgie (1-2) earned the win out of the bullpen, throwing 2.0 innings, allowing three runs, four hits, while striking out four. Starter Daniel Castro tossed the first four frames, allowing four runs (three earned), seven hits, and struck out three, but did not earn a decision. Closer Matt Gallup captured the save, holding the Retrievers scoreless in the final inning with one strikeout.
After using a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to top UAlbany in game one, UMBC picked up where they left off in the nightcap, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Hunter Dolshun ripped a leadoff home run to break the scoreless stalemate, and the Retrievers then strung together three singles and an error to add three more runs to the board.
However, UAlbany answered with a run in the top of the fourth, as Hinchy, Bullard, and Lepre hit consecutive singles. Hinchy crossed the plate on Lepre’s RBI single through the right side.
The Great Danes got the bats going again in the fifth when Alex Lushkevich walked and Harasta singled to center, setting up Nethaway’s three-run bomb over the left field wall, tying the ballgame, 4-4. With two outs, UAlbany continued to rally, as Bullard doubled down the left field line and Lepre knocked another RBI single to center, giving the Danes a 5-4 advantage.
In the top of the sixth, UAlbany added four more runs, starting with Harasta’s RBI single through the left side that brought in Richard Bacon, who also reached on a single. Nethaway followed with a single to center and Hinchy kept the two-out rally going with a three-run blast over the left field fence, giving the Danes a 9-4 lead.
UMBC responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, stringing together three singles and walk, but it wasn’t enough as Gallup held the Retrievers off the board in the seventh.
In game one, UMBC scored single runs in the second and third innings, before UAlbany answered with a run in the top of the seventh. Hinchy led off with a single up the middle, advanced to second on Cory Kingston’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on Lepre’s double to left centerfield.
Trailing, 2-1, in the ninth, Nethaway sparked a rally with a leadoff single to right. He moved to second on Hinchy’s sac bunt, and scored on Charlie Peltz’s RBI single to left field, tying the ballgame. However, with two on and two outs, reliever Michael Gomez got out of the jam, forcing a fly out.
In the bottom of the ninth, Brandon Coluccio drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, and runners on first and second after a hit batter, Andrew Casali played hero with a walk-off single up the middle, giving the Retrievers a 3-2 victory.
Gomez (1-0) earned the win, pitching just two-thirds of an inning. Mac Gill tossed the other eight and a third, allowing two runs, eight hits, and struck out three.
For UAlbany, reliever Ryan Stinar (0-2) took the loss, throwing 1.2 frames, allowing one hit and one run, while striking out two. Starter Kevin Archbold worked through seven innings on the mound, allowing two runs and seven hits, and struck out two.
Offensively, Lushkevich and Nethaway led the Danes with two hits each, going 2-for-4.
UAlbany and UMBC will both look to capture the series in Sunday’s rubber match, which will begin at 12 p.m.