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May 9, 2016

Minutemen swept by 49ers

This weekend spelled another disappointing road trip for the Massachusetts baseball team, worn down by superior pitching and ineptitude at the plate.

UMass lost to Charlotte on Sunday, 7-1, dropping its fifth straight series while falling to 2-14 overall. Minutemen starter Mike Gedman, one of the few bright spots on this season’s roster, was hit-around, taking the loss to fall to 1-2 on the short season.

The 49ers (19-6, 6-0 Atlantic-10) scored six runs in the first three innings, beginning with three two-out hits to score four runs and a run-costing error. Charlotte’s Chad Rothlin enjoyed a smooth day as the starter, pitching seven and two-thirds innings of four hit baseball, giving up a lone-earned run.

During the first inning, Gedman walked the first batter up and allowed a fielder’s choice to Cory Tilton. After striking out the next batter, an error on catcher’s interference allowed Ryan Rivers to reach and Tilton to advance to second. Kevin Gillespie then singled to left field followed by a Miguel Rodriguez double to right field which put Charlotte up 2-0.

Gedman allowed the leadoff man to reach base again in the second, as Zane Williams doubled to right field and scored on a throwing error by right fielder. The 49ers then filled the bases after singles by Corey Shaylor and Justin Wilson and a Tilton walk before Mike Perkins extended his hitting streak to 15 games on a two-RBI single to push the lead out to 5-0.

The 49ers manufactured a run in the third by scoring the leadoff man Justin Roland to give themselves a 6-0 lead.

Gedman allowed seven runs, including six earned, on 13 hits over four and one-third innings. He also struck out four and walked two in 99 pitches.

Ben Hart (2.1 inning pitched) and Glen Misho (1.0 inning pitched) combined in a formidable relief effort as the two allowed just one base runner in three and one-third innings of relief.

Unfortunately for the Minutemen, the damage had already been done as its one run in the eighth inning did little to help them get back in the ballgame. A two-out Ryan Cusick single and steal led to a Justin Fredette RBI double and the only blemish on Rothlin’s pitching-line.

UMass was swept in this weekend series, marking the fourth time this season UMass has lost a series, dropping the three games they played in North Carolina this weekend. The three losses drops the Minutemen to 1-5 in Atlantic 10 play in 2010.

The Minutemen were shut down for most of the weekend by a formidable pitching staff. Aside from Rothlin’s stymieing performance, pitcher Cory Roberts pitched a no hitter into the fifth on Friday, getting a win on four hits, 10 strikeouts and one earned run over seven innings pitched.

Tyler Pilkington was the only pitcher to have problems against the Minutemen lineup this weekend, going three innings and allowing eight hits and four earned runs, but the bullpen helped to leave his record unblemished. Four pitchers came in to give up four hits and one run, unearned, to save Pilkington’s day as reliever Bryan Hamilton (2-0) was credited with the win and Patrick Lawson the save.

UMass was outscored in the first three innings of each game by a combined 13-4. Its lone lead after three innings came in Game 2 of the series on Saturday when it scored four runs in the third to take the lead, only to relinquish it in the fifth inning.

After one third of the season has taken place, UMass has been unable to find any consistency at the plate or on the mound and will look to find that moving forward in its schedule. Its next game is a home-and-home set against Connecticut beginning Tuesday on the road at 3 p.m.

Dan Gigliotti can be reached at dgigliot@student.umass.edu.

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