After about an hour of blasting music on the bus ride home from the America East baseball tournament, celebrating UMBC's first conference title and an automatic NCAA tournament bid, the Retrievers decided to watch a few movies.
Well, at least they tried to watch "Friday Night Lights" and "Shooter."
"The bus ride was wild," senior catcher Hunter Dolshun said. "The movies didn't really get watched very carefully."
The activity supposed to calm the bunch and pass time couldn't settle the players and coach Bob Mumma, a UMBC alum who played in the program's first NCAA tournament appearance in 1992. They were too hyped about their first NCAA berth since 2001 via a 2-1, 10-inning championship win against Maine on Sunday.
"Everybody was so fired up on the bus the whole time," Dolshun said. "I don't think anybody fell asleep or anything. It was a great time. It really hasn't sank in yet, but it will soon."
The Retrievers will face No. 1 seed Wake Forest on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Winston-Salem Regional. The four-team bracket includes No. 2 seed West Virginia and No. 3 seed Maryland. Winners advance to eight best-of-three super regionals. Those winners move on to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
The team learned its destination Monday when the festivities continued at a selection show viewing party.
For Mumma, the moment elicited memories of watching the announcement in 1992. Those Retrievers had lost two one-run games in the East Coast Conference tournament, so he battled nerves while waiting to see if UMBC earned an at-large bid.
The two NCAA tournament games in Miami were his last as a college baseball player. As the program's all-time leader in home runs (42) and tied for third in RBIs (152), he was the Chicago White Sox's 13th-round pick that June and played two minor league seasons.
But he returned to the Retrievers as an assistant in 1996 and helped them reach the NCAA tournament in 2001. He assumed the head position in June 2011 with aspirations of more postseason success.
UMBC came close in 2015, falling in the America East final, but Mumma said the Retrievers were "just happy to be there."
This year, as he watched the grit and ecstasy from his team as the conference's No. 2 seed, playing in the winners' bracket, he knew the milestone had become the expectation.
"I just want the kids to be able to experience some of those same feelings I had as a player because it's something you never forget," Mumma said. "It can't be more satisfying watching this group."
To achieve that, Mumma kept his group relaxed throughout the title match.
In the fifth inning, redshirt senior pitcher Michael Austin remembered the team feeling tense. "We weren't scoring. We were squaring up some balls."
Mumma's message — "we're going to win this game" — resonated, Austin said, as the team preserved a tie at 1 in the seventh with a wacky double play on Maine's suicide squeeze attempt.
Then in the bottom of the 10th, junior catcher Zack Bright, admittedly nervous, stepped to the plate and drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded for the walk-off run.
"I'm not sure how calm I was on the inside," Mumma said. "It was just because I wanted it so bad for them."
But he and the Retrievers settled into practice Tuesday afternoon, blaring country music throughout the field.
Mumma had just talked with his assistants about travel plans and held court with TV cameras on the field as his players trickled into the dugout after their latest celebration stop: a ring-sizing session for their championship memento.
"We're just so amped up, so happy that we just won the America East championship for the first time in our history," Austin said. "After the game, some of the guys were tearing up a bit because it was just such a long journey and road to finally reach that great point."