TOWSON, Md. – Senior righthander Mike Bronakoski and three relief pitchers combined to pitch a five-hitter as the Tigers (22-22) edged UMBC (11-25), 4-2, at Alumni Field on Wednesday evening.
Bronakoski earned his first victory of the season as he allowed one run on three hits in five innings of work. He struck out one and did not walk anyone. Senior righthander Sean Bertrand threw two innings and gave up one unearned run on one hit before sophomore righthander Nick Cioffi threw a scoreless eighth inning. Junior righthander Brandon Gonnella earned his second save of the season by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Tiger pitchers did not walk any batters and had four strikeouts.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when third baseman Brendan Butler led off with a single and first baseman Kurtis Voytell walked. Catcher Zach Fisher bunted the runners into scoring position. With two outs, junior centerfielder Kurt Wertz lined a two-run single to rightfield, giving Towson a 2-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the second, second baseman Vince Corbin of UMBC led off with a single. He reached second base on a sacrifice bunt by Mark Esposito and advanced to third when centerfielder Rob McCabe grounded out to second base. Corbin scored the Retrievers’ first run of the game when Bronakoski struck out Jake Barnes on a wild pitch. When Barnes reached first base, Corbin scored.
Junior second baseman Pat Fitzgerald led off the fourth inning with an infield single and reached second base on a wild pitch. With one out, he scored on a single by Gonnella to give the Tigers a 3-1 advantage.
In the sixth inning, the Retrievers cut their deficit to 3-2 when they scored an unearned run. With one out, shortstop Kevin LaChance singled to rightcenter field. He stole second base and reached third on a throwing error by Fisher. When designated hitter Brandon Collucci grounded out to second base, LaChance scored to pull UMBC to within 3-2.
In the eighth inning, the Tigers added an insurance run without getting a base hit. Fisher led off with a walk and reached second base on a sacrifice bunt by junior shortstop Hunter Bennett. Walks to Wertz and sophomore Peter Bowles loaded the bases. Fisher came around to score when Fitzgerald was hit by a pitch. The Retrievers got out of the jam when Dominic Fratantuono grounded out and Fitzgerald got caught in a rundown.
Gonnella came in to pitch the ninth inning. After giving up a one-out single to Collucci, Gonnella retired the final two hitters on ground ball, nailing down the win.
The Tigers outhit UMBC by a 6-5 margin as Fisher, Wertz, Fitzgerald, Gonnella, Butler and Voytell each singled. LaChance led UMBC with two hits.
The victory was Towson’s 16th win in its last 17 games against UMBC.
The Tigers, who have won three of their last four games, return to action this weekend with a three-game series at Georgia State.