Minutemen enjoy home field advantage

By Steve Levine

Jeff Bernstein / Collegian

When looking for examples of the reality of home-field advantage, point to the Massachusetts baseball team.

The Minutemen intend to surprise the Atlantic 10 conference again this year by picking up the bulk of their wins at Earl Lorden Field. Last year, UMass went 14-6 at home, including 6-0 in its last six games, while hitting .356 as a team. UMass continued that streak one week ago when it defeated Hartford in its home opener, 14-6. In fact, the Minutemen have scored at least 10 runs in each of those seven games, outscoring their opponents, 92-46.

In the last game at home in 2009, Mike Donato, Peter Copa and Corey Volpicelli all knocked in four runs en route to a 20-6 UMass victory. All three players returned to the team this year and are again saluting Earl Lorden with their bats. Of the three, Donato shined brightest in their home opener this year by going 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and four RBIs.

Gedman brothers leading UMass

Going into the season, it was no surprise UMass was going to rely heavily on brothers Mike Gedman and Matt Gedman to produce.

Although the season is still young, the Minutemen could not ask for much more from the duo, who are each leading their team at the plate and on the mound.

Matt Gedman, a junior shortstop, has started all 13 games this year and is leading the team in most offensive categories including: batting average (.392), runs (10), RBIs (tied with 9), slugging percentage (.608), on-base percentage (.436), and total bases (31). Matt Gedman also leads all starters with the fewest strikeouts, committing the crime just four times in 51 at bats.

Perhaps Matt’s best performance this year came during the home opener, when he went 4-for-4 with a home run, four runs scored and five RBIs.

And then there’s the older brother, senior Mike Gedman, starting pitcher for the Minutemen.

Like his brother, Mike is leading the Minutemen in most pitching categories including: ERA (3.80), opposing batting average (.258), innings pitched (23.2), and strikeouts (19).

Gedman is coming off his best performance of the season when he and the Minutemen avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of Saint Joseph’s on Sunday. Gedman threw a complete game, giving up just five hits and one run while striking out a career-high 10 batters.

Fredette making immediate impact

Junior second basemen Eric Fredette may be exceeding expectations already at the start of the season.

Fredette, who played his first two years of collegiate baseball at Vermont, is enjoying early success with the Minutemen and shows no signs of slowing down after beginning his UMass career with an eight-game hitting streak.

Fredette has started all 13 games for UMass, posting the team’s second-best batting average at .360. He has also scored seven runs and has yet to commit an error at second base.

Steve Levine can be reached at [email protected]