December 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Minutemen hampered by tough road schedule

The well-traveled Massachusetts baseball team has done a lot of sightseeing on its way to its first 16 games this season, while watching its record plummet and its name fall in the standings.

Two weeks ago, UMass coach Mike Stone spoke about his team needing to find a rhythm and that it would take an uncertain number of games to begin to play comfortably on the diamond. He hoped that his team would improve with every outing but, so far, that has not happened.

“Baseball is a tough game mentally,” Stone said. “[Our play] has been inconsistent at times, sloppy at times, in all facets of the game. It has not been a smooth road.”

Following a weekend in which they were swept for the fourth time in five series, the 2-14 Minutemen seem to be stuck in spring training mode. UMass has been unable to snap out of a funk that has seen no reliable batters step up to the plate and a starting rotation that’s lacking leadership

“Some days, some parts of the order are better than others,” Stone said. “It would be nice to have a solid one-through-nine performance everyday, but that hasn’t been.”

The Minutemen have been hankered by a strenuous schedule in their first 16 games this season. In three weeks of play, all but one game has come on the road, including four separate road trips amassing nearly 6,000 miles of travel. That is the equivalent to traveling clear across the country and back.

In the upcoming month, the Minutemen will leave Massachusetts twice with a game against Connecticut and a three-game series against Rhode Island. That means 17 of the next 21 UMass games will be enjoyed in the Bay State’s confines and 14 of those at Earl Lorden Field.

“The field is ready. It looks great. Everyone’s a little more excited to play at home,” Stone said.

In defense of its early struggles, UMass has played teams with a combined record of 88-55 this season. That amounts to a .620 winning percentage. Excluding its game against Hartford which it won at home, its opponents’ winning percentage jumps to .660.

The next 10 opponents for the Minutemen – excluding one provisional game played in the Beanpot competition – share a combined record of 119-116, just over a .500 winning percentage.

Yet, Stone is not willing to concede that his team’s ineptitudes correlate with time spent on the bus, saying that it is normal for his teams to play their first 20 games on the road. As for the possibility for his players to perform more steadily on familiar ground, he accepts that part of the game as a surety. He is also not at a point where he will admit that his competition has simply been more talented.

It seems that Stone and his team are in a pickle. Stone’s approach for breaking his team from its current slump is to be upfront and challenge them, while encouraging them to stay positive.

Moving into a more favorable schedule in the next month, the Minutemen will attempt to find an identity, or else, they will continue to slump.

“Some days you have it, some days you don’t,” Stone said.

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

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