UMBC falls to Delaware, exits tourney Retrievers lose, 6-5, on 10th-inning hit

May 24, 1992|By Robert Bell | Robert Bell,Contributing Writer

MIAMI -- For the second straight game, UMBC got outstanding pitching at the NCAA Atlantic Regional baseball tournament. For the second straight game, it didn't matter.

Delaware's Bill DiIenno, hitless in his first four at-bats, lined a two-out run-scoring single to left in the 10th inning yesterday to give the Blue Hens a 6-5 victory over the Retrievers at Mark Light Stadium.

The loss, coupled with Friday's loss to Miami, eliminated the Retrievers from their first NCAA tournament appearance.

It also left UMBC coach John Jancuska with a bad taste. Another solid pitching effort -- this one by reliever Kevin Loewe -- was wasted.

Loewe took over for an ineffective Trevor Buckley in the second and allowed just two runs and five hits the rest of the way. In the Retrievers' opening game here, Craig Grasser went the distance in their 3-1 loss to Miami.

"It's a shame to get great games like we did from Craig and Kevin and only get to play two games, but that shows just how tough the competition is here," Jancuska said.

All of Delaware's offense in the final inning came with two outs. After Brian Lesher reached base on an error -- one of a season-high seven by the Retrievers -- he stole second.

Loewe actually had Lesher picked off for what would have been the inning's third out. Instead Lesher broke for second and beat the throw by first baseman Shawn Shugars.

Jancuska said he thought about bringing in reliever Jay Witasick, but decided otherwise.

On Loewe's 0-2 changeup, DiIenno drilled the pitch to right, enabling Lesher to race home with the winning run.

UMBC finished its seventh Division I season at 37-13.

Loewe deserved a better fate than that of losing pitcher. He allowed five hits and walked only two in eight-plus innings.

"Kevin pitched a super game," UMBC catcher Bob Mumma said. "He just made one bad pitch, and it cost us."

Not quite. What cost the Retrievers was a horrid first inning in which Delaware scored four runs on three UMBC errors.

After Mumma's two-run home run gave UMBC a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, the Retrievers gave it back in the bottom.

Keister began Delaware's half of the inning with a walk, stole second and moved to third on Mike Gomez's sacrifice fly. He scored when the next batter, Brian Wallace, doubled to left.

Lesher followed with a double to right-center to tie the score at 2.

Then things got ugly for the Retrievers. Lafferty singled and went to second when left fielder Shugars couldn't come up with the ball.

With runners on second and third, Mumma tried to catch Lafferty napping at second. But his pickoff throw sailed over Burns' head and into center field, allowing DiIenno to score from third. And when center fielder Brian Loewe ran past the ball, Lafferty strolled home as well to give Delaware a 4-2 lead.

"That was disastrous," Mumma said. "I thought I had a good shot at him. I don't usually throw the ball into center field, but that's part of the gamble you take."

The Retrievers pulled within 4-3 in the second on Burns' run-scoring single. They took a 5-4 lead in the fourth, scoring their runs on a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk by Delaware's Matt Schmidt.

Delaware coach Bob Hannah, who coached Jancuska in the mid-1970s, turned to freshman Jamie Wilson to get the last out of the inning.

He got it, then shut down the Retrievers the rest of the way.

The Retrievers couldn't put together a run, let alone a threat. After scoring their final two runs in the fourth, the Retrievers managed just two hits and did not got a runner in scoring position.

"There's a tendency for Northeast schools to come down for the tournament and play . . . just to be respectful. We have to overcome that. We have to come in here expecting to win, and I'm not sure we came here with that attitude," Jancuska said.

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