Scrolling Headlines:

UMass baseball finishes season with sweep over George Mason -

May 22, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse falls in NCAA quarterfinal -

May 22, 2016

‘Green Room’ is a bloody blast of survival horror -

May 21, 2016

DaLuz: Boston Celtics stuck trudging in the mud -

May 18, 2016

Despite tallying double-digit hits, UMass baseball falls to Fairfield Tuesday afternoon -

May 17, 2016

Radiohead returns to the top with gorgeous, illuminating ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ -

May 16, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse advances to quarterfinal of NCAA tournament -

May 16, 2016

UMass baseball outlasts Rhode Island in series finale behind strong pitching of Brandon Walsh -

May 15, 2016

Eileen McDonald’s overtime goal advances UMass women’s lacrosse in NCAA tournament -

May 14, 2016

12 UMass students face possible arrests in connection to an alleged bad LSD trip -

May 14, 2016

UMass baseball falls in first-ever Division I matchup with UMass Lowell 7-3 -

May 11, 2016

UMass baseball gets shut out in nonconference matchup with UConn -

May 10, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Richmond, wins eighth straight Atlantic 10 championship -

May 9, 2016

UMass baseball salvages last game of weekend series with Richmond behind strong eighth inning -

May 9, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse beats St. Joe’s, advance to Atlantic 10 championship game -

May 7, 2016

Lack of offense plagues UMass baseball in game two of doubleheader with Fordham -

May 1, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Davidson 12-5 on Senior Day -

May 1, 2016

Two arrested after report of aggravated robbery in Washington Hall last night -

May 1, 2016

Former UMass wide receiver Tajae Sharpe selected in fifth round of 2016 NFL Draft -

April 30, 2016

Ryan Moloney pitches seven scoreless innings as UMass baseball takes series opener from Fordham -

April 30, 2016

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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