UMBC Scores Twice in the Ninth to Defeat Navy, 7-6
March 8, 2006
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - UMBC shortstop Steve Bowen went 3-for-5 with two runs as the Retrievers rallied from a 6-5 deficit in the ninth to defeat Navy, 7-6, in baseball action on Wednesday afternoon at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. With the loss, the Midshipmen fall to 10-5-1, while the Retrievers improved to 4-4.
"We missed an opportunity to win the game in the eighth inning," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We had a chance to stretch out the lead with nobody out, but we didn't. We gave them five outs to work with in the ninth, and you can't do that and expect to win in a one-run game."
With Navy holding a one-run lead heading into the ninth, UMBC third baseman Steve Russo reached on an error to lead off the inning. Bowen and Zach Clark delivered back-to-back singles to load the bases with nobody out. Navy reliever Ryan Hefner (Creve Coeur, Ill.) induced a fielder's choice groundout, however a throwing error in an attempt to turn a double play allowed Bowen to score the go-ahead run.
The Midshipmen mounted a rally of their own to take the lead going into the ninth after trailing 5-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth. In that inning, Navy benefited from a fielding error by the centerfielder with two outs to score Ryan McGinn (Arvada, Colo.) and B.J. Bickel (Benson, N.C.) to cut the deficit in half at 5-3.
In the seventh, Jonathan Johnston (Hamilton Township, N.J.) laid down a bunt single to lead off the inning. Thomas Hamilton (Houston, Texas) followed with a single to put runners on first and second. After a flyout, Johnston and Hamilton recorded a double-steal to push both runners into scoring position. Mitch Harris (Mt. Holly, N.C.) lifted a sacrifice fly to bring Johnston home and make the score 5-4.
Navy took its first lead of the game courtesy of a two-run bottom of the eighth inning. Joshua Martinez (Denver, Colo.) singled through the left side to lead off the inning. The Mids benefited from a throwing error that drew the shortstop off the bag at second on Bickel's bunt, then another throwing error on Michael Garcia's (Kailua, Hawai'i) sacrifice bunt allowed pinch-runner Lewis Hobbs (Wilmington, N.C.) to score and runners on second and third. Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.) singled over the drawn-in infield to give the Mids a 6-5 lead with nobody out. However, Navy would not expand upon the lead, as UMBC reliever Tom Schlein got out of the jam with two groundouts and a flyout.
"Today we fought our way back and didn't rollover," Kostacopoulos said. "We have had a legit opportunity in 14 of our 16 games this year, and we have won 10 of them. We still have to learn how to win these types of games."
The Retrievers held a 1-0 advantage over the first-three innings until the Midshipmen knotted the ballgame at one with a Bickel bases loaded walk. UMBC scored three times in the fifth and once in the sixth to build its 5-1 cushion.
Freshman Matt White (Yorba Linda, Calif.) picked up a no-decision in his third-career start after yielding seven hits and four runs, three of which were earned, with one walk and four strikeouts. Sophomore Spencer Suarez (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) struck out three and did not allow a hit in two scoreless innings of relief while the Midshipmen were making their comeback in the seventh and eighth innings.
"Matt (White) pitched really well today," commented Kostacopoulos. "His stat line was rather deceiving. Matt got in on the hands of a lot of batters and kept the ball down. A number of his hits did not leave the infield."
Kostacopoulos added, "I really liked how Spencer (Suarez) carried himself today. He went right after the hitters and kept us in the ballgame. He did exactly what we need out of a reliever."
Hamilton recorded three of Navy's eight hits, including a double and a stolen base, on Wednesday afternoon, while Martinez went 2-for-2 after coming in as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. Hollins extended his hitting streak to nine games after his RBI-single in the eighth inning.
Hefner picked up his first-loss of the season after giving up the two unearned runs in the ninth inning to have his record drop to 1-1.
Tom Schlein won his first game of 2006 with a 5.0-inning effort in relief of starter Eddie Bach on Wednesday. Schlein gave up seven hits and five runs, only one earned, with one walk and one strikeout. Bach yielded only one hit with six strikeouts, but walked five Midshipmen as he left after throwing 90 pitches, 47 of which were strikes, through four innings.
Russo and Clark each had two hits to join Bowen in the multi-hit department as the visitors out-hit Navy, 11-8.
The Midshipmen return to action with a noon doubleheader at UMES on Saturday in Princess Anne, Md.