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UMass baseball salvages last game of weekend series with Richmond behind strong eighth inning

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

Going into the eighth inning down 3-1 to Richmond Sunday morning, it looked as though the Massachusetts baseball team was well on its way to getting swept by the Spiders.

Then the bats decided to wake up and the whole complexion of the game changed as UMass (14-22, 7-10 Atlantic-10) exploded for a seven-run eighth inning en route to a 8-3 win, salvaging the last game of the series between the conference foes.

Juniors Dylan Morris and Mike Geannelis led the offensive outburst in the eighth as both had their only hits of the game in the frame. The pair drove in a combined five runs on a single from Morris and Geannelis’ double.

Elsewhere offensively, second baseman Ryan Lever had another multi-hit game, the fourth time he’s done that in the last six games. Mike Hart also contributed with two hits, one of which was a home run in the third inning, his third long ball of the season.

On the mound, senior Brandon Walsh continued his strong season going seven innings, only giving up three runs and six hits, while striking out six Richmond (25-20, 11-10 A-10) batters.

Walsh improved his record to 3-1 on the season and his ERA currently stands at a 3.86.

Spiders starting pitcher Dan Martinson was determined not to be outdone on the mound as he also went seven innings and scattered five hits and two runs to the Minutemen batters.

The bullpen is what let Richmond down on Sunday, as the group combined to give up six runs in two innings of work.

UMass drops both games of doubleheader Saturday

Saturday’s matchups saw the Minutemen not fare as well as they did on Sunday, as UMass dropped both games of the doubleheader by scores of 14-4 and 6-3, respectively.

The first game of the day saw Minutemen starting pitcher Ryan Moloney struggle mightily as the junior went only four innings giving up eight runs and 10 hits. The bullpen did Moloney and company no favors as well, as Tim Cassidy and Ben Panunzio gave up six runs collectively in four innings of work.

UMass’ offense didn’t muster a considerable attack throughout the game either, as only two players had a multi-hit games. Hart had two hits – one was a home run – and designated hitter Hunter Carey had a pair of hits as well and an RBI on the day.

The Richmond offense was firing on all cylinders as three players had three of more hits in the game. Third baseman Michael Morman led the charge with a 4-for-5 game and two RBI’s; three of his four hits were doubles. Left fielder Kyle Adams had three hits and four RBIs’ in the game, while second baseman Daniel Brumbaugh also had three hits resulting in two RBIs.

The second contest on Saturday saw a much better performance for the Minutemen, but once again it was not enough.

Freshman pitcher Justin Lasko did his best to give UMass a chance to win, going eight innings and leaving the game with a 3-2 lead. The bullpen could not shut the door though as closer Evan Mackintosh blew the save in the ninth, and in the eleventh inning Geannelis gave up a walk-off home run to Morman sealing the Minutemen’s fate.

UMass will be back in action on Tuesday for a nonconference game against Connecticut. The game is set to start at 3 p.m. in Storrs, Connecticut.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @aaucoin34.

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