Minutemen hitting carries team over Dayton
Bryan Leigh pitched the Massachusetts baseball team to a 10-2 victory over Dayton on Sunday afternoon, clinching his fifth straight victory and the team’s fifth straight conference series win.
The Minutemen (16-23, 11-10 Atlantic 10) traveled to Ohio on Friday for a three-game set with the Flyers (20-28, 9-12 A-10) and scored in double-digits for the fifth time in the last six outings, managing at least 14 hits in each game over the weekend.
UMass has now won eight of the past 10 games.
Leigh (5-4), the senior right hander, provided a big lift during the rubber match, throwing a complete game. The rest of the pitching staff did not travel so well, giving up seven home runs on Friday and blowing a ninth-inning lead on Saturday.
Six runs in the top of the ninth put the game out of the reach of Dayton, on Sunday. With the score 4-2, Mike Gedman scored on a wild pitch by Chris Beesley and Tom Conley knocked two runners in with a single up-the-middle. Another run batted in by Ryan Cusick and a two-run hit by Eric Fredette extended the lead to eight runs.
Leigh retired the next three batters to secure the win. He allowed two earned runs over nine innings, on eight hits and two walks.
Designated hitter Cusick led UMass from the leadoff spot, going 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Conley, Peter Copa and Matt Gedman each had two hits.
The Minutemen suffered a tough defeat on Saturday, relinquishing a two-run lead going into the final frame to lose 17-16.
UMass led, 15-14, going into the ninth inning. Fredette reached base on an error by pitch Ian Gardeck, and three batters later, Brian Boudinet hit him in with a fielder’s choice to double the Minutemen lead.
Jonathon Castine led off the bottom of the ninth with a double for the Flyers to begin their rally. Mike Gedman gave up a walk and a single to the next two batters until pitcher Leif Sorenson relieved him out of the bullpen. A fielder’s choice by outfielder Mitchell Nelson cut the lead to one and a single by Joe Gayda provided the winning runs as Dayton walked off for the win.
Gedman (1-4) is tagged with the loss, allowing five runs, three earned on four hits and two walks. Starter Jared Freini gave up nine earned runs on 12 hits and seven walks through six innings pitched.
UMass won on Friday, 18-12, despite allowing seven home runs.
Nick Serino (2-5) gave up six long balls, including two apiece to Brian Blasik and Aaron Dunsmore. Serino allowed 11 earned runs on as many hits over six and 0.1 innings pitched on Friday, but still got the win thanks to solid protection from Sorenson, Glenn Misho and 22 UMass hits.
The Minutemen jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, only to see Dayton eventually even the score in the bottom of the third inning. UMass answered back with four runs in the top of the fourth and added six more unanswered runs through the next three frames to take a 16-6 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
Each hitter in the starting lineup hit safely for the Minutemen and all but one did so multiple times. Mike Gedman registered four hits and eventually scored each time. Copa and left fielder Kyle Multner each went 3-for-5, combining for nine RBIs.
UMass combined for 53 hits off of Dayton pitching in Games 1 and 2 of the series, including the season‘s best total of 22 on Friday. The Minutemen average over 10 hits per game on the season.
UMass now has almost 11 runs per game in their last ten outings, nearly five more runs than its season average (6.36 runs per game).
Dan Gigliotti can be reached at email@example.com.