Baseball: UMass drops another to UConn

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

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Jenna Oelschlegel/Collegian

This time, Connecticut closer Matt Karl had a bit less pressure. UConn pounded out 19 hits yesterday at Earl Lorden Field, defeating the Massachusetts baseball team, 13-6, and giving its closer a much easier lead to protect this time around. UMass (8-12, 3-6 Atlantic 10) fell behind 9-0 by the sixth inning, as starting pitcher Jared Freni and the offense both struggled. The Minutemen had one hit through five innings against UConn starter Matt McDonald and Freni allowed seven runs (four earned) in 4 1/3 innings of work. The Minutemen had multiple threats late in the game, but couldn’t get the big hit they needed. UConn (16-15, 6-7 Big East) tacked on four runs in the final two innings to once again pull away. “I was disappointed that we came out and played like we did today; I didn’t think we were as focused as we needed to be,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “We weren’t sharp. It was just sloppy.

“It’s unfortunate because I think if we played a good ballgame we would beat most [teams].”

Karl once again looked sharp against UMass, as the left-hander pitched a perfect ninth inning for the Huskies. Karl saved a 4-2 victory against the Minutemen earlier this season, and also recorded one against them last year in dramatic fashion. He entered that game in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter, launching a three-run home run to take an 8-5 lead. He then came on to pitch and struck out the side for the save. With a 19-hit attack by the UConn offense, Karl entered the ninth inning yesterday with a seven-run lead and little pressure.

Huskies freshman shortstop Mike Olt led the way, driving in four runs on two hits, including a monstrous three-run home run to left-center field off of Freni in the fifth inning. The home run gave UConn a 7-0 lead, and knocked Freni out of the game. The UMass offense picked up after Freni left, scoring multiple runs in innings 6-8. But with the bases loaded in the seventh and UMass down by five runs, Jim Macdonald struck out against reliever Dennis Accomando to end the threat. “We started to bare down a little bit and make some adjustments at the plate,” Stone said. “We finished with eight hits, and I guess that’s all right considering how we started. “But you can’t give up 19 hits and expect to win. It’s just not going to happen.” Charlie Benson, Garrett Butt and Zach Telgheder struggled out of the bullpen for UMass, allowing nine hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. Stone was disappointed with their results, but he expects his bullpen to improve as the season progresses. “They have to come in and be sharp; I know it’s tough to do,” he said. “Those are three young guys who came in – all freshmen – but I think eventually they’re going to be good pitchers for us.” UMass fell behind quickly in the afternoon game with UConn, as Freni allowed consecutive doubles to start the game. He got out of the inning without further damage, but the Huskies scored three times in the second inning to extend the lead to 4-0. They added three runs in the fifth and two more an inning later. UMass takes the field again today against Harvard in Lynn, for the first round of the Beanpot Tournament.

Game notes UMass balked in two runs in the game. Benson committed the first one in the sixth inning and Butt had one in the eighth.