April 20, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s lacrosse falls to Hofstra on Senior Night, 11-6 -

Saturday, April 19, 2014

VIDEO: UMass United Rally in support of Derrick Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Friday, April 18, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Minutemen face model opponent at UConn

A third of the way into the season, the Massachusetts baseball team continually struggles to bring all aspects of its game together.

After the pitching staff allowed only a pair of runs in the last two games of the Saint Joseph’s series, the Minutemen allowed 25 runs in three games to Charlotte as they were swept in North Carolina.

It’s clear that UMass (2-14, 1-5 Atlantic 10) still has a ways to go, with only one win taken from the last two series.

“We’re working to establish an identity at this point,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “We still haven’t established what kind of ballclub we’re going to be yet and hopefully it will happen in a positive way very soon.”

The Minutemen can look across the diamond into their next opponent’s dugout for a blueprint for success when they face Connecticut this afternoon for a home-and-home matchup, starting at UConn.

The Huskies (16-7, 4-2 Big East) pitching staff has proved consistent, giving up only four runs in their past nine games.

UConn is coming off a three-game sweep at West Virginia, as its hitting complemented the staff, scoring a total of 32 runs against the Mountaineers. The balance of pitching and hitting on this club has resulted in seven wins in the last nine games, and 10 in the last 13.

“UConn’s an excellent team,” Stone said. “They should be ranked first in New England this week. They’re a good scrappy team. Springer killed us last year.”

Stone referred to UConn outfielder George Springer, who in two games against the Minutemen last year imposed his will as a freshman. Springer went 6-for-8 with six runs scored, eight runs batted in and three home runs, including a grand slam.

However, Springer is not the only hitter the Minutemen pitchers need to be weary of. Eight Huskies are hitting .280 or better in batting average. UConn also doesn’t just get its power from one or two players as its totaled 23 home runs, with no player claiming more than five. Seven hitters have double-digit runs batted in.

The Huskies are also one of the best teams when it comes to stolen base success, having swiped 56 bases in 65 attempts.

Not to be outdone, three starting pitchers have an earned run average below 2.11. Matt Barnes leads the staff with a 5-0 record in five starts with 35 strikeouts in 34.1 innings.

“They’re obviously strong in the areas where you need to be strong in,” Stone said. “That’s the kind of ballclub we would like to be. It’s going to be a good test for us this week – no question. We need to play well in every facet. We need to play a complete game where we execute throughout the entire ballgame.”

Sophomore Leif Sorenson will make his debut as a starter for the Minutemen. A transfer from Vermont, Sorenson’s pitched a total of three innings this season in four games, allowing five earned runs on six hits.

“[Sorenson] started during the summer, and he’d done pretty well,” Stone said. “We just haven’t gotten him enough innings, and we think he’s going to be a good pitcher. We need to give him a start at this point.” 

UMass lost to UConn in both matchups last season, the first by a score of 8-1 and the second in an 11-9 defeat. The last time the Minutemen beat the Huskies was April 10, 2007.

Pete Vasquez can be reached at pvasquez@student.umass.edu.

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