Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

UMass face tough A-10 series over weekend

For the Massachusetts baseball team, its upcoming weekend series against George Washington represents the hardest Atlantic 10 matchup it has for the rest of the season.

UMass coach Mike Stone doesn’t see any special significance in this, however, as he has seen his team play arguably its best baseball of the season against tough teams. After getting swept at the hands of conference-leading Charlotte in early April, the Minutemen (10-21, 7-8 A 10) turned it around, winning their last three conference series against Richmond, Rhode Island and most recently, La Salle. 

“Everybody we’ve played recently has been ahead of us [in the standings],” Stone said. “So I think this is a similar situation. George Washington has done well so I expect another good test.”

The Colonials (22-19, 10-5 A 10) are no ordinary test, however. With a .310 batting average and a league-high 46 home runs in 40 games, George Washington’s high-powered offense is unparalleled league-wide. Stone is confident in his team, though, and doesn’t want his pitching staff to be overly concerned with the statistics.

“I explained to [the pitchers] that George Washington has a ballpark with a short fence – that’s why they have a lot of home runs,” Stone said. “That’s traditionally the way it is with their team. [My players] shouldn’t be so concerned about the stats they see online because it’s a bandbox they play in.”

Luckily for UMass, the series is being held at Earl Lorden Field, where the Minutemen hold a 5-4 record and the dimensions are normal. On top of playing at home, UMass has received solid pitching of late, and even better hitting. The Minutemen have scored at least 10 runs in five of its last six games.

“I think [the offense] is starting to get into a groove a little bit,” Stone said. “They’re confident and we’re seeing positive results, which only breeds more confidence.”

Perhaps nobody is more confident at the dish right now than junior Eric Fredette. After transferring from Vermont, the second baseman has fit right into the second spot in the lineup, leading the team with a .415 batting average, which is also good for third-best in the conference.

“He’s been great,” Stone said. “He’s come in and he’s a great kid with a great attitude. He wants to get better and he’s worked at it. He’s a hustler and a scrapper who has made good adjustments – he’s been a great addition to our program.”

Recently, Fredette was honored as the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, hitting .636 with two home runs and 10 runs batted in the last five games. Senior Bryan Leigh was rewarded as the Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week and freshman Ryan Cusick was rewarded as the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, marking the first time in school history when all three weekly awards were given to Minutemen.

“I think we’ve played pretty well,” Stone said. “A lot of it depends on our effort on the mound. That’s the way it is in baseball – good pitching performances and good defense gives you a chance to win. We’ll need our pitchers to step up and hopefully we’ll have a good series.”

Steve Levine can be reached at slevine@student.umass.edu.

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