Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass welcomes No. 25 Charlotte to Earl Lorden Field

Mike Wood/Collegian

After a consolation game victory against Northeastern Tuesday at Fenway Park, the Massachusetts baseball team will be back in action Friday, as the team will take on Atlantic 10-foe No. 25 Charlotte at home for the first game in a three-game series.

UMass (13-21, 5-7 A-10) remains in the competition with 12 remaining conference matchups, none more important than the upcoming three against No. 25 49ers (32-9, 11-4 A-10), who currently hold the best conference record.

Touted as the preseason favorite to start the season, Charlotte has lived up to the bill, most recently taking two-of-three at home against Fordham. The 49ers pitching staff is the best in the A-10 and arguably in the nation, as their 2.12 staff ERA tops the NCAA.

Whether it’s Tyler Barnette (1.37 ERA), Corey Roberts (194 batting average against) or Andrew Smith (7-2 and 58 strikeouts and has allowed only one homerun all season), the UMass offense will have its hands full, no matter who Charlotte throws at it.

The 49ers currently top in most pitching statistics in the A-10, including wins (31), opposing batting average (.221), strikeouts looking (113), hits allowed (282), runs allowed (120), subsequent earned runs (83), and doubles allowed (43). The team is near the top in nearly every other category, including fourth in innings pitched (352.1), saves (nine), and third in walks (111).

The defense behind the pitching has also been solid, holding a fourth-best .964 fielding percentage while turning 36 double plays, good for second in the conference.

Their offense is impressive as well, ranking near the top in virtually every hitting statistic in the conference. Charlotte is second in on-base percentage (.399), runs scored (284), runs batted in (254), triples (17) and steal attempts (104), proving that they can take pitches, get on base and run. Charlotte ranks first in the league in walks (203), third in batting average (.300), and fourth in slugging percentage (.403).

Unlike the 49ers, the Minutemen have had a lot of trouble within the conference recently.

Tuesday’s victory over Northeastern marked an end to a four-game losing streak for UMass, one that saw the Minutemen lose three consecutive games at home against Xavier, who held a 24-9 run advantage.

The outcome was far different than the last A-10 opponent UMass faced in Temple from April 15 -17. With the top batting average in the country, Temple was outplayed offensively on its own turf, losing two-of- three to the Maroon and White by a combined score of 48-22, including a 25-10 shelling in the series finale.

In the last five contests, UMass’ pitching staff has surrendered 5.4 runs per game. In two of those contests the Minutemen gave up eight runs or more.

Third basemen Matt Gedman, who’s currently in the chase for UMass’ all-time single season batting average and hits records, is riding an 0-for-8 streak in the box. He sits on 57 hits, which is 24 away from tying the record.

Gedman’s average has dropped him to 10th in the NCAA and 19 points from tying the UMass record (.444). His average has dropped to .425 on the season.

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at [email protected].

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