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Baseball Readies For Three With Retrievers

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Baseball Readies For Three With Retrievers

Photo: Senior Kasceim Graham is slated to pitch game one for UAlbany.


ALBANY, N.Y. – Currently in second place in the America East Conference standings, the University at Albany baseball team looks to stay on track this weekend when the Great Danes welcome the UMBC Retrievers to Varsity Field for a three-game series. Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at 12:00 p.m., followed by Sunday’s single game, also at noon.

Sat., April 27, 12 p.m.
Mac Gill, UMBC (2-3, 4.44 ERA) vs. Kasceim Graham, Albany (5-4, 3.83 ERA)

Sat., April 27, 3 p.m.
Denis Mikush, UMBC (1-2, 4.22 ERA) vs. Austin Chase, Albany (4-3, 5.06 ERA)

Sun., April 28, 12 p.m.
Mike Gomez, UMBC (1-3, 3.82 ERA) vs. TBA

In the last meeting with UMBC, UAlbany rallied from a 4-3 loss in game one to capture the series, 2-1, with a 13-1 win in game two and a 5-2 victory in the rubber match.  Supported by UAlbany’s 15 hits on offense, hurlers Kasceim Graham and Brendan Ryan limited the Retrievers to just three hits in the second game, as Graham earned the win, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings, while striking out three. Ryan threw the final two hitless frames, striking out one. In the final clash, freshman Ryan Stinar earned the win in his first career start, going six innings, yielding no earned runs, four hits, while striking out three. Out of the bullpen, Derek Zielinski shut out the Retrievers for the final three innings, picking up the save. The Great Dane pitching staff boasted a 1.09 ERA in the series and held the Retrievers to a .155 batting average. Offensively, UAlbany hit .340 across the three games, led by D.J. Hoagboon (6-for-10) and Nolan Gaige (7-for-13).

SCOUTING THE GREAT DANES (17-16-1, 10-8 America East)
UAlbany comes off an exciting conference series win over Hartford as well as a midweek victory over Manhattan. UAlbany exploded for 23 runs and 20 hits in game one against the Hawks, winning 23-8, before falling 11-5 in game two. In the series rubber match, junior Josh Nethaway broke a 9-9 stalemate in the bottom of the 12th inning with a walk-off double. The victory gave the Great Danes sole possession of second place in the conference standings with a 10-8 record. Against the Jaspers – the reigning MAAC Champions – UAlbany totaled 15 hits in Wednesday’s 11-5 win. On the season, UAlbany is batting a collective .273 average led by Nethaway (.352), freshman Matt Hinchy (.344) and senior Nolan Gaige (.301). Defensively, the Danes are fielding .965, while the pitching staff owns a 5.15 earned run average.

THE UALBANY COACH: Jon Mueller (14th season, Eckerd College ‘92)
Jon Mueller is in his 14th season as the head coach of the University at Albany baseball program. The Stillwater, N.Y. native has had proven success as both a player and coach throughout his career. Mueller ranks first among UAlbany’s career leaders with 296 coaching victories, and was named the America East Coach of the Year in 2004. He also led the Danes to the program’s first America East Conference tournament championship title and NCAA appearance in 2007. Mueller has produced dozens of all-conference standouts and has had six players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft under his direction, including one in each of the past two seasons.

SCOUTING THE RETRIEVERS (11-21, 5-13 America East)
UMBC comes off a series loss as Binghamton last weekend, falling in two of three games, while splitting a pair of midweek contests against Coppin State (2-1, W, 12 inn.) and George Washington (5-12, L). On the season, UMBC is batting .211, led by Kevin LaChance (.280) and Brando Coluccio (.269). Defensively, they own a .961 fielding percentage and a 5.05 ERA. The Retrievers enter the weekend in sixth place in the America East conference standings.

THE COACH: Bob Mumma (2nd season, UMBC, ‘94)
After a stellar collegiate career at UMBC and two seasons of professional baseball, Bob Mumma returned to his alma mater in the fall of 1996 and has served as the Retrievers’ assistant baseball coach for the past 15 seasons. This past season, Mumma’s first as the Retrievers’ head coach, UMBC posted a 10-42 record, recording wins over Army and Navy as well as a victory over perennially ranked Tulane in New Orleans. Mumma succeeded John Jancuska, who coached the Retrievers from 1978-2011.

With two hits Wednesday night at Provident Bank Park, senior Nolan Gaige became the University at Albany baseball program’s all-time hits leader, now totaling 231 in his four-year career. Gaige passed Michael Oliva (229: 1997-01) in the archives with his first hit of the night — a leadoff double in the top of the first. In addition, Gaige is UAlbany’s all-time triples leader with 15 in his career.

For the second time this season, junior Josh Nethaway was named the America East Player of the Week, announced by the league office Monday. Batting .500 (10-for-20) with a .750 slugging percentage, Nethaway led UAlbany to a 3-1 week, including a series win over Hartford. With one out in the bottom of the 12th inning, Nethaway played hero with his fourth hit of the game — a walk-off game-winning double — leading the Danes to a 10-9 victory over the Hawks in Sunday’s rubber match. In their 23-8 game one win against Hartford, Nethaway finished a triple shy of the cycle as he went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored. The Fonda, N.Y. native pounded out a double, home run, and single in his first three at-bats. Nethaway also recorded multiple hits in UAlbany’s 8-6 win over St. John’s University — the reigning BIG EAST champion and 2012 Super Regional participant. On the season, Nethaway owns a team-high .352 batting average with 12 doubles and three home runs, while also hitting .386 in conference play.

Making two appearances on the mound last week, senior Austin Chase earned wins in both outings, while boasting a 1.00 ERA. In UAlbany’s 8-6 triumph over St. John’s University — the reigning BIG EAST champion and 2012 Super Regional participant — Chase (4-3) earned the win, tossing the opening three frames, allowing one run and three hits, while striking out two. Chase also earned the win in UAlbany’s, 10-9, 12-inning series-clinching victory over Hartford. Chase did not allow any runs and struck out seven in the final six innings of the game.

Freshman Matt Hinchy hit .333 (4-for-12) with three runs batted in, three runs scored, and lined a double in UAlbany’s series win over Hartford. As the designated hitter in all three games, Hinchy played a key role in setting the tone in UAlbany’s 23-8 series-opening win, belting a bases-clearing double with the bags full in the first inning and a single in his second at-bat. Hinchy also had a multi-hit performance in game two with a pair of singles, while scoring a run. On the season, Hinchy leads the team with a .429 batting average in conference play, while hitting .344 overall.

This weekend’s series opens an eight-game home stand for the Great Danes. UAlbany will host UMBC for three contests, Central Connecticut for one on Tuesday, Maine for three next weekend, and Hofstra for one on May 8th.

In UAlbany’s most recent series with Hartford, the Danes totaled 38 runs, 33 RBI, and 48 hits, including nine doubles, a triple, and two home runs across three games. The Great Danes also batted .397 as a squad with a .537 slugging percentage. In the last five games, UAlbany owns a .393 average with 57 runs, 11 doubles, and 47 RBI.

UAlbany head coach Jon Mueller now has 296 career wins. Mueller is in his 14th season at the helm and ranks first in UAlbany baseball coaching victories with a 296-399-5 record.

Senior Nolan Gaige is UAlbany’s all-time leader for at-bats. Playing and starting in 191 games in his career (4th all-time), Gaige — a mainstay in the leadoff spot — has recorded 749 career at-bats.

When UAlbany scores first, the Great Danes own a 13-5-1 record this spring. On the contrary, when UAlbany’s opponent gains the initial lead, UAlbany is 4-11.

UAlbany’s active career doubles leader redshirt junior Josh Nethaway has belted 38 in his three-year tenure. With 12 already this season, Nethaway ranks fifth all-time at UAlbany. Teammate Nolan Gaige is not far behind with 33 career two-baggers.

UAlbany will host a non-conference game Tuesday against Central Connecticut, before welcoming Maine for a three-game America East Conference series at Varsity Field next Saturday and Sunday.

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