Junior right-hander Karim Gonzalez will get the start in Game 1 against Longwood on Tuesday.
Junior right-hander Karim Gonzalez will get the start in Game 1 against Longwood on Tuesday.

Feb. 28, 2011

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore baseball team hosts Longwood for a doubleheader Tuesday at Hawks Stadium beginning at noon. Longwood and UMES last met in Princess Anne, Md., on May 2-3, 2009 with the Lancers earning a four-game series sweep of UMES. LU leads the all-time series between the two, 15-2.

SCOUTING LONGWOOD:Longwood comes into play on Tuesday at 2-5 on the season with a pair wins over Cleveland State (8-3 and 9-4) on opening weekend. The Lancers have lost four straight since - one against George Mason (12-5) and three versus La Salle (3-0, 6-1 and 7-2). Longwood, which finished 28-20 in 2010, returns 14 letterwinners and six pitchers and four position starters. Junior outfielder Robby Newman leads the team offensively, hitting .444 with four doubles and three RBI. Senior shortstop Brant Jones was third on the team last season with a .402 (74-for-184) batting average and is Longwood's top returning hitter. Jones also had seven home runs and 38 RBI.

LAST SERIES: UMES won 1-of-3 games against Fairleigh Dickinson this week, earning a walk-off victory in the first game Saturday and falling, 3-2, and 22-20 in the final two games. UMES scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth in the first game to erase an 8-6 FDU lead. Elliott Alston lined the first pitch he saw into left field to score James Newsome for the win. UMES then nearly completed the doubleheader sweep but a seventh-inning comeback fell short in the nightcap. On Monday, the Hawks rallied from a 5-0 first-inning deficit to take a 20-10 advantage into the late innings but squandered it.

ON THE MOUND: Karim Gonzalez, who earned the win on the mound against Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday will get the start opposite Longwood's freshman righty Cory Ramsey. Gonzalez pitched two inning of relief for the win and comes into the game at 1-1 on the season with a 4.82 ERA in four outings. He has allowed eigh hits and six runs (five earned) in 9.1 innings while striking out 10 and walking eight. Ramsey (0-1) allowed six runs on three hits in his lone start this season but none were earn as Longwood fell to George Mason. Both teams have yet to named a starter for Game 2

JOHNSON FOURTH IN MEAC IN BATTING: Tre-Von Johnson is currently fourth in the MEAC with a batting average of .448 through the Hawks first seven games. He has 13 hits in 29 at-bats and has hit safely in six games.

NEWSOME 5-FOR-5: Junior shortstop Jaime Newsome broke out of an early-season 3-for-21 slump Monday, going 5-for-5 with two doubles, two triples with four runs scored and five batted in. The five RBI were the most for a UMES player since Bryan Chaikowsky had five against North Carolina Central on May 8, 2010 in a 12-2 win at Hawks Stadium. Newsome also the first UMES player to collect five hits in a game since Elliott Alston was 5-for-6 against Lehigh on Feb. 25, 2009 in an 8-7 11-inning loss.

20 RUNS IN A LOSS?: UMES fell 22-20 to Fairleigh Dickinson despite holding what seemed to be an insurmountable lead of 20-10 for FDU late in the game. The Knights scored eight runs in the ninth to take the rubber game of the series. The 20 runs are the most in a loss for the Hawks since UMES lost to Maine, 26-15, on April 1, 2006.

FIVE STARTING POSITION PLAYERS BACK: UMES welcomes back five position players from last season in Nick Wiggins at catcher, Elliott Alston at first base, Luis Mena at third, Tre-Von Johnson in center field and Bryan Chaikowsky. Wiggins had a .941 fielding percentage and threw out 18 baserunners while hitting .154 at the plate. Alston batted .261 in 48 games. He was tied for the team lead in doubles with 10 and fourth in hits (41) and RBI (19). Mena, the Hawks' primary third baseman last season, hit .197 and was tied for third on the team with four sacrifice bunts. Johnson was one of three players on last years' squad to hit over .300 at .302. He also led the team in total bases (75) and stole 15. Johnson also threw out six runners from his spot in right field. Chaikowsky, the team's top power threat, tied for the team lead with six multiple-RBI games.

UMES PICKED SIXTH IN MEAC: The Hawks were picked to finish sixth in the MEAC Preseason Poll, garnering 46 points to top Coppin State (36). Bethune-Cookman was chosen as the unanimous selection to repeat as MEAC champions and to win its sixth straight conference title. North Carolina A&T earned 134 points to take the second spot in the poll while Norfolk State (128), Delaware State (100) and Florida A&M (60) are projected to round out the field in that order.

TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE: Sophomore outfielder Tre-Von Johnson finished in a tie for first in the MEAC in triples (six). The 5-foot-10, native of East New Market, Md., was 31st in the NCAA in triples and 25th in triples per game.

CHAIKOWSKY PRESEASON ALL-MEAC: Senior designated hitter Bryan Chaikowsky was named to the preseason All-MEAC team. Chaikowsky, a second team All-MEAC selection in 2010, batted .293 with 10 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 25 RBI last season. He had a slugging percentage of .431 and on-base percentage of .388 while drawing 20 walks and stealing 13-of-14 bases. The honor for Chaikowsky is his second consecutive preseason nod from the conference as he was given honorable mention All-MEAC recognition last year.

UMES 94TH IN NCAA IN STEALS: The Hawks were 94th in the country in stolen bases (77) last season. The Hawks were also 67th in steals per game, averaging 1.51. Additionally, graduated senior Phil Vaughn was 47th in the steals with 28 and 34th in steals per game at 0.56.

THE DUDE ABIDES: Former UMES outfielder Ira "Dude" Smith was recently placed on the ballot for the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Smith won two consecutive NCAA batting titles in 1989 and 1990, hitting .488 and .519, respectively. His 1990 season ranks sixth all-time NCAA history while his .431 career average ranks 14th all-time. Smith's achievements during his collegiate career include getting 10 straight hits in three games and hitting three home runs in a span of four contests. After his UMES career, Smith was drafted in the 37th round in 1990 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He spent nine years in minor league baseball followed by another five seasons in independent ball from 1990-2003. He reached the Triple-A level in 1995, hitting .325 in 59 games with the Las Vegas Stars. Smith was inducted into the MEAC Hall of Fame in 2010. He is also a member of the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame and the UMES Hall of Fame. Voting for the Sixth College Baseball Hall of Fame class will conclude in February.

ON DECK: UMES hosts Long Island for three Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Blackbirds lead the all-time series, 2-4-1.