Lights go on for UMBC baseball as George Mason visits Tuesday

State notebook


April 09, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Even a baseball coaching veteran such as John Jancuska admits to being as excited as a teenager these days as UMBC prepares to open a new era of night ball at the school.

"There's always been something special about playing under the lights," said Jancuska, who is in his 27th season as UMBC's head coach. "It will add so much to our program and help our recruiting. Our players won't have to rush out of classes to get to games and hopefully we can draw larger crowds."

UMBC signed a 10-year contract with The Baseball Factory, giving the Columbia organization use of the UMBC field for 75 dates a year in exchange for a lighting system, new playing surface and warning track around the entire field.

"It's all natural grass, the kind cows can eat," said Jancuska.

The $350,000 project will be unveiled Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the Retrievers meet George Mason in the first night baseball game in school history at the newly named The Baseball Factory Field at UMBC.

The Baseball Factory provides players across the nation with instruction, tournament competition and college planning and placement. It also sponsors a college-level wooden bat league that includes the Baltimore Pride, a team that will play 20 games and conduct practices at the new stadium.

The stadium will have an eight-pole lighting system that is considered one of the best for sports complexes, as opposed to a six-pole system.

UMBC athletic director Charles Brown said: "With the brand new playing surface and lighting system, along with future renovations to the dugout and press box and expanded seating, The Baseball Factory Field at UMBC will truly be one of the premier facilities in the region."

There will be a pre-game ceremony Tuesday, with Steve Sclafani, founder and CEO of The Baseball Factory, scheduled to throw out the first pitch.

Sclafani, 33, is a graduate of Atholton High and the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a second baseman.

Mumbauer leads CAA

Junior Towson softball shortstop Katie Mumbauer is leading the Colonial Athletic Association in home runs with eight, in runs scored with 34 and in total bases with 75.

Her batting average (.323) also leads the Tigers. She is one of only two players on the team batting over .300, with senior right-fielder Sara Foster checking in at .317.

Foster is tied for the CAA lead with 12 doubles. She also has three homers and 17 RBIs. Junior first baseman Sam Schaukowitch is third on the team in hitting average (.296), and has four home runs and 21 RBIs.

Towson (20-19) climbed over .500 Wednesday afternoon by sweeping a doubleheader from Bucknell, 7-6, 7-2, on the road.

A first for Coppin

Coppin State waltzed to a 12-0 baseball victory over Georgetown Wednesday at Joe Cannon Stadium in Anne Arundel County, giving the Eagles their first shutout victory over a nonconference Division I opponent in the history of the school.

Freshman left fielder Teon Richburg (Mount St. Joseph) hit two home runs and drove in four runs for the Eagles (10-22), and junior right-hander Bryan Crossley had his best outing of the season, surrendering three hits and walking two in seven innings, improving his record to 2-4.

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