Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutemen complete sweep of Bonnies

By Gary Tarantino, Collegian Staff

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Danielle Augeri / Collegian.

The Massachusetts baseball team completed a three-game sweep of St. Bonaventure on Sunday with a 12-7 victory at Earl Lorden field, improving their standing in the race for an Atlantic 10 Tournament spot.

The series sweep currently positions the Minutemen (19-22, 11-10 A-10) into the sixth and final spot in the tournament bracket with six conference games remaining.

UMass was down 7-3 entering the bottom of the sixth inning but rallied with two runs in the sixth and six more in the seventh to claim just its second A-10 series sweep of the season. The Minutemen have won 10 of their last 13 games in the conference.

Faced with a deficit of four runs at the start of the seventh inning, the Minutemen knew they were running out of time to get ahead of the Bonnies (21-20, 7-13 A-10). Senior third baseman Sam Boone started the rally with a walk. Back-to-back singles by senior second baseman Adam Tempesta and junior center fielder Brian Baudinet scored Boone. Senior designated hitter Jim MacDonald then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third with only one out, and junior right fielder Mike Donato was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Junior first baseman Mike Gedman came through in the clutch with a bases-clearing double to right-center field to take the lead at 8-7. Relief pitcher Cory Sudbrook couldn’t slow down the Minutemen, who tacked on three more runs

Boone came up again in the seventh as the Minutemen batted around in the inning. With the bases loaded, he reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Conley from third. The rally was finally concluded when Tempesta popped up to the shortstop, stranding runners on first and third. The rally gave the Minutemen an 11-7 lead.

Freshman catcher Tom Conley hit his first collegiate home run on a 1-0 pitch from Dennis Sherba in the sixth inning that precipitated the rally. Sophomore reliever Charlie Benson relieved junior starter Jared Freni and shut down the Bonnies to ensure the victory. In five innings of relief, Benson gave up just three hits (all in a scoreless ninth inning) and allowed no with five strikeouts to earn the victory.

In four innings of work, Freni gave up six runs on eight hits and struck out five.

On Saturday afternoon, a pair of sophomores led the charge en route to a 7-6 win over the Bonnies. Catcher Corey Volpicelli went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in his first career start for the Minutemen and pitcher Nick Serino struck out eight, allowing three runs on nine hits in 5-1/3 innings pitched to earn the victory for UMass.

Volpicelli gave UMass the lead in the bottom of the third inning when he singled in two runs with the bases loaded. The rally started with back-to-back singles by senior designated hitter Jim MacDonald and junior right fielder Mike Donato, followed by an intentional walk of Matt Gedman.

Volpicelli hit a single up the middle on a 0-2 count to score both MacDonald and Donato. The hit put the Minuteman up 3-2 and they never looked back.

The game became nerve-wracking for the Minutemen in the top of the eighth when the Bonnies cut the UMass to one. After a single by freshman right fielder Ryan Skellie, the tying run from second was rounding third in hopes of tying the game at 7. Kyle Multner threw an absolute strike to catcher Volpicelli to tag out the potential tying run.

Gary Tarantino can be reached [email protected]

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