The Florida trip for the Massachusetts baseball team did not start off as expected, as the squad dropped four consecutive games over the course of last week heading into last Friday’s game against Bucknell.
“We started off the season real slow, not being able to help the pitchers out by scoring enough runs,” said senior Matt Gedman. “We’ve been able to come on now and help our pitchers out, and that’s been good for us.”
UMass has won its past three games, including its most recent game against University of Maryland-Baltimore County, a 9-5 victory, on Sunday.
With starting pitching giving UMass deep, quality outings to go along with the offensive support at the plate, the squad’s record stands at 4-8, as Atlantic 10 play creeps closer.
Sunday’s game against the Terriers (3-8) saw sophomore Dennis Torres cruise through five shutout innings for UMass, surrendering only two hits and delivering no walks on just 59 pitches, on his way to his first career win (1-1).
Fellow sophomore Richard Graef gave the team a spark in the top of the first as he singled, stole second, advanced to third on a ground ball and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Gedman.
Eight players in the Minutemen lineup recorded a hit, as the team opened the floodgates with a four-run fourth inning. After junior Tom Conley brought Gedman home with the bases loaded on a sacrifice fly, senior Peter Copa came home on a double steal attempt. Freshman Dylan Begin hit a home run to left field to make the game 5-0 in favor of UMass.
Begin and fellow freshman Kyle Addie each collected two runs batted in on the day, establishing their presence at the bottom of the starting lineup.
Prior to the UMBC game, UMass rode back-to-back victories against Bucknell, 6-4, and Northwestern, 11-4, last Friday and Saturday.
Glen Misho continued his impressive early-season campaign, shutting out the Bison (8-10) through seven innings of work to go to 2-1 on the season. After back-to-back walks by Bucknell in the eighth, Misho gave up three consecutive hits, making the score 6-4, and knocking the starter out of the contest.
Leif Sorenson came on in relief, inducing two groundballs to escape the inning. Sorenson closed out the ninth for UMass, striking out the side after allowing two hits.
Freshman Nik Campero came through for the Minutemen with his first collegiate hit when he lined a single to right center after coming to the plate to pinch-hit. Campero drove in two runs to make the game 5-0 in the top of the eighth.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit, so it was nice to come in and be in that big situation,” said Campero. “Your mentality’s a lot different, because you haven’t been in the game, so the key is to relax in the box and see a pitch to hit, and just drive it.”
After trailing early on against Northwestern on Saturday, UMass scored six runs in the third inning to propel the squad to an 11-4 victory.
The Minutemen received another deep pitching performance against the Wildcats, this time from junior Rob Machado, who scattered 12 hits over six innings of work, delivering no walks while striking out a career-high eight batters. After surrendering two runs in the top of the first, Machado battled his way through the rest of Northwestern’s lineup.
The Minutemen travel to Connecticut for one game to play Hartford, before opening Atlantic 10 play on the road against George Washington.
Scott Cournoyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.