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UMass baseball closes season out with series victory over George Mason

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts baseball team finished its regular season on a high note as it crushed George Mason 10-4 Saturday afternoon.

With the win, UMass (16-27, 12-12 Atlantic 10) finished the season in tenth place within the conference while the Patriots (23-27-1, 12-12 A-10) ended right above the Minutemen in ninth.

UMass never trailed Saturday, in what marked the Minutemen’s highest scoring output in almost two months.

After a scoreless first three innings of play, UMass struck first in the fourth inning after a three-base error off the bat of Dylan Morris drove home both Rob McLam and Adam Picard.

George Mason cut the lead in half in the bottom frame after Brandon Gum connected on a leadoff double and later scored on a wild pitch.

The score remained 2-1 until UMass broke the game open in the top of the seventh inning when the Minutemen added five runs despite recording only two hits in the frame.

After a McLam sacrifice fly extended UMass’ lead to two, Mike Geannelis walked, setting up a bases loaded situation for Picard with two outs. Then on one swing of the bat, Picard gave the Minutemen a 7-1 advantage with a grand slam.

Picard, Geannelis and Mike Hart accounted for six of the Minutemen’s nine hits Saturday. All three players finished 2-for-4 while Picard added four RBIs and three runs scored.

The Patriots got two runs back in the bottom half of the seventh inning, however, via a pair of RBI singles from Luke Willis and Gum. Then in the eighth, George Mason scored their final run off of a Ray Toto RBI single to bring the deficit to 7-4.

But the Minutemen responded with three more runs in the top of the ninth after an error and two RBI singles from Hart and Vinny Scifo increased the lead to 10-4.

UMass coach Mike Stone said he was pleased with the offense’s performance after struggling to produce runs of late. Prior to Saturday’s finale, the Minutemen hadn’t scored more than three runs since May 8.

“I was very happy to see the offense come through (Saturday),” Stone said. “We’ve been struggling the last couple of games to score runs and we were able to do so today.”

Brandon Walsh started on the mound for the Minutemen and went 62/3 innings to capture his second win of the season. He gave up three runs on five hits and two walks while he struck out five.

Junior Evan Mackintosh came in relief in the eighth inning and recorded his third save of the season, allowing one hit over 11/3 innings of scoreless ball.

With the victory, UMass clinched the series with George Mason two games to one. But after Friday’s loss to the Patriots, the Minutemen were eliminated from postseason contention as only the top eight teams make the A-10 tournament.

Victor Pusateri can be reached at vpusateri@umass.edu.

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