Lowell, Mass.— UMBC baseball fell behind early, but earned their first America East Championship with 2-1 walk-off win against Maine on Sunday. Zack Bright (Farifax Station, Va./WT Woodson) drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded in the tenth to give UMBC their first America East title.
"What an amazing baseball game. I couldn't be happier for the team and our seniors who worked hard for four years for a moment like this," head coach Bob Mumma said after the game. "Like we have been telling the kids all year, it's about the process and we kept fighting the whole way. We saved our best baseball for the tournament and the camaraderie of this group showed this week."
UMBC improves to 23-23, while the Black Bears end their season at 25-29.
Maine struck early, getting a run in the top of the first after a pair of singles to lead off, and a sacrifice fly by Christopher Bec.
The Retrievers would put a runner on base in each of the first three innings, before finally breaking through in the fourth. Jamie Switalski (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) led off the inning with a single, and get moved over on a Hunter Dolshun ground out. Two batter later, Christian Torres flew out to left, allowing Switalski to score, tying it at 1-1.
UMBC would work themselves into a couple of jams the next couple of innings, but each time the Retriever defense stood tall and got out of the inning unharmed.
The Retrievers and Black Bears would battle every inning from there on out, as two headed to extra innings.
In the extra frame, Mitchell Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) led off with a walk, and would move to second on an Andrew Casali (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) sac bunt. Two batters later, Switalski drew a walk, followed by a Dolshun intentional walk to load the bases to set up Bright. He saw four pitches, and drew the walk-off walk to send UMBC to the NCAA Regionals.
Hunter Dolshun was named America East Tournament Most Outstanding Player, while Dolshun, Matt Chanin (Olney, Md./Sherwood), Connor Staskey (Virginia Beach, Va./Temple) and Casali were named to the all-tournament team.
The Retrievers will find out where they will be going in the NCAA Tournament tomorrow, Monday May 29 at noon on ESPN 2. For more details and a location for the watch party, stay tuned to UMBCRetrievers.com and the athletics twitter page @UMBCAthletics.