The Massachusetts baseball team pulled out a 5-2 victory over Quinnipiac on Tuesday afternoon with a combination of timely hitting and determined pitching.
The Minutemen (17-23, 11-10 Atlantic 10) offense manufactured their first two runs, both coming courtesy of sacrifice flies.
“It was one of those days where we scrapped and we hustled ourselves a couple of runs too,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “Rich Graef got us going early in the first inning with a line drive, stole second, and we got up one run.”
Sophomore Ben Hart started for UMass and pitched five effective innings before getting into trouble in the sixth inning.
After the first two batters got on base and were sacrificed over, a sacrifice fly gave the Bobcats (14-31, 13-11 Northeast) their first run of the game. The second run came in the same frame after a wild pitch, but that was the only inning UMass allowed Quinnipiac to cross the plate.
“[Hart] had his first start for us and did a great job,” Stone said. “He got ahead, threw strikes and pitched himself into the sixth inning. Games like today, you have to have people who throw strikes and that was a key effort for us.”
With six innings completed and the score tied at two, the game shifted to the bullpens. It was then when the Minutemen were able to capitalize.
After being shut out for four straight innings, the UMass offense broke through in the top of the eighth. After junior Peter Copa reached on a fielder’s choice, he promptly stole second. Senior Garrett Glashoff, making his first start since April 18, hit a two-out double down the left field line to put the Minutemen ahead, 3-2.
UMass added two more runs in the top of the ninth inning to increase its lead to three. Mike Gedman hit a run-scoring single and Brian Baudinet scored on a passed ball.
“We had some two-out clutch hits,” Stone said. “Glashoff and Gedman came through at the end of the game. Baudinet beat out a ground ball to short and eventually got to third base and scored on a ball that wasn’t very far from the catcher. So that was just an example of scrapping and scraping and getting enough runs to make the difference.”
Junior Charlie Benson got his second win of the season after combining with sophomores Glen Misho and Leif Sorenson for 3.1 innings of shutout relief.
The only other Bobcat threat besides the sixth inning came when Benson relieved Misho in the top of the seventh with two outs and the bases loaded.
“Misho got in a little bit of trouble but Benson came in and did a great job,” Stone said. “He faced the lefty as his first hitter. With the bases loaded, [Benson] got it to a 3-0 count but bounced back to get out of the inning and get us to the ninth. Sorenson came in and shut the door for us. It was a good solid game.”
Sorenson collected his fifth save of the season.
The Minutemen hope to use this type of win to keep their momentum going as the season winds to an end.
“We had some different people playing today who don’t usually play,” Stone said. “It just proves that we’re a pretty solid team right now and that we’ve come a long way as a ballclub. It feels good being in this situation going into two big series, six games left. The main thing is the team’s come a long way in a positive way. So we’ve got to feel good about that.”
Pete Vasquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.