Beanpot Tournament to be held at Northeastern, Fenway Park

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The Massachusetts baseball team will compete in the Beanpot Tournament this week with the first round being played in Lowell and the final round at the historic Fenway Park.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Since getting a seat at the tournament, the Maroon and White has been a force, representing the school in the finals the first six years since coming in, including back-to-back crowns in 1996 and 1997, along with championships in 2000 and 2008.

Every year, teams alternate opponents in the first-round contests. This year will be no different as UMass will take on Harvard on Wednesday at Edward A. LeLacheur Park.

UMass (11-17, 5-4 A-10) is currently in its conference schedule, recently taking two-of-three games against Temple University, who went into the series last weekend with the highest team batting average in the country.

Senior Peter Copa and Matt Gedman have helped carry the Minutemen offense, ranking second and third in slugging percentage. Gedman leads the league in on-base percentage.

With a nice break in between pivotal conference games before the home stretch with the Beanpot, a trip to Lowell and Fenway Park may be the trick for a team with15 conference games remaining.

Harvard, an Ivy League representative, is currently 6-27 overall this season, winning one game since late March, before it won two last weekend against Brown.

Junior infielder and catcher Jeff Reynolds has been the Crimson’s best hitter statistically, producing a .316 average, and ranks seventh in the conference in hits (39). The power has come from junior Marcus Way, who’s currently tied for second in the conference in home runs with six, and freshman Jake McGuiggan, who is tied for third in doubles with 10.     

Although the team has posted shaky pitching across the board, one bright spot has been senior Max Perlman, who posts a 2.03 earned run average over 44.1 innings of work. He‘s struck out 41 batters, walked 15 and surrendered three home runs.

UMass will get to work Wednesday in Lowell, followed by a tournament wrap-up game at Fenway Park early next week. This will either be the final of the tournament or a consolation game for the historic tournament that began as a hockey competition.

Since 1952, the Northeast region has hosted the Beanpot Tournament – an event featuring some of the most prestigious academia the Boston area parking in a three-game, four-school hockey tournament.

Although either Boston College or Boston University has played in the finals every year since the winter of 1978, a rich tradition has been set forth for the local community to see, and has allowed fans across the region to come out and celebrate the event.

In 1990, a new tradition was set forth, this time on the baseball diamond, as the Big Four showcased their baseball programs against each other in a similar three-game tournament, with consolation and championship games played at historic Fenway Park.

However, at the start of the 1996 season, a new participant would have to enter the picture, as BU announced concluding their previous spring’s campaign that they would be cutting their varsity program. Teams such as Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire all made their case for the bid, but Massachusetts wore the crown as the top dog who would represent another section of the region in a tournament that would show some of the best players New England collegiate baseball had to offer.

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at [email protected]