The Massachusetts baseball team ended its spring break road trip with a three-game win streak. The Minutemen will look to get back on the winning track, after losing its last two games to George Washington and Holy Cross, when they take on Hartford on Thursday.
The Hawks (1-16-1) have had a rough beginning to their season. Of its 16 losses, Hartford has given up at least 10 runs in 12 games and have managed to score more than three runs on four occassions.
Hartford has also been shut out in three of its last five games. Among the 11 players on the roster who have played in at least 11 games, only redshirt junior Simon Kudernatsch has managed to hit over .300 with an average (.303). Kudernatsch also leads the team in RBI’s with 11. The team’s ERA stands at 9.93 and its opponent’s batting average is .225.
Early on this season, one of the Minutemen’s problems was getting runs across the plate. In its first seven games, UMass only plated more than three runs once. In each of their last seven games; however, the Minutemen have not scored fewer than four runs.
One of the key contributors to the rise in offensive production has been senior Matt Gedman, who leads the team in batting average (.410). Gedman is tied for second on the team in home runs with Kyle Multner at two, as Peter Copa leads the team with four. Gedman stands alone at second in RBI’s with 11, trailing only Copa’s 12. This production helped earn Gedman UMass Athlete of the Week last week.
While the offense has started to pick up, a lot of the production has fallen on the shoulders of Copa, Gedman and two other seniors, Kyle Multner and Eric Fredette. Those four players fall within the top five in all the major offensive categories. On a regular basis, the four seniors bat in the middle of the lineup in order to get more offensive production. With such a freshmen laden team, though, there can be some cause for concern.
Facing Hartford’s low-scoring offense may be just what the Minutemen pitching staff needs come Thursday. Seven of UMass’ losses have come while giving up seven runs or more. The team’s ERA stands at 5.83 and opponents are hitting .321 against them. The staff has been led so far by junior Glen Misho, whose record is 3-1 with a 4.28 ERA and one complete game.
Eric Mansfield can be reached at email@example.com.