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 club baseball could reach World Series with win at regionals

For the members of the Massachusetts club baseball team, a chance to play in a World Series isn’t too far away.

This weekend the Minutemen (22-2, 14-1 North Conference) will travel to Williamsport for the North Atlantic Regional Tournament. The No. 1 Minutemen will compete against Pittsburgh, Penn State and Delaware in a double-elimination tournament. A tournament victory would send them to the National Club Baseball Association World Series.

UMass’ first game will be Friday when it takes on fourth seeded Pittsburgh at 7 p.m., with the time of the two and three seed match-up of Penn State and Delaware to be determined. All other game times will depend on the results of the first round.

Senior player and coach Owen Stebbins, a four year player who does a bulk of the catching for the Minutemen, said that Pittsburgh, as well as the other teams in the tournament, will be tougher competition than that of the Minutemen’s conference schedule, which includes Syracuse, UConn, SUNY-Cortland, Albany and Cornell.

A big part of the Minutemen’s conference dominance and overall record has been the consistency of their starting pitching.

“[Our] starting pitching has been outstanding,” said Stebbins.

Since the season started last fall, the Minutemen pitchers have only given up more than six runs twice. One of those games was their first in the NCBA Showcase in Plant City, Fla., against Iowa, which came after a near five-month layoff between games.

Highlighting the pitching staff has been junior Matthew Lamoureux and sophomore Matthew Rosenzweig. Lamoureux’s record stands at 8-1 with a 1.41 ERA. The junior southpaw tossed six complete games, striking out 11.29 hitters per nine innings pitched. Rosenzweig has gone 4-0 with a 0.79 ERA, tossing three complete games with a 13.46 strikeouts per nine innings average.

Senior Adam Gabel has also made a solid contribution on the hill for the Minutemen, going 2-0. Gabel tossed a no hitter in a mercy rule shortened game against Albany in his first NCBA start on April 30.

The production from the plate has not been lost by Stebbins or Lamoureux.

Stebbins said that the bats have been on fire lately and that there haven’t been many low scoring games all season.

Of the 24 games, the Minutemen have scored at least 10 runs on 13 occasions and have scored less than five runs just three times.

Lamoureux has also been impressed with what he has seen at the plate.

“[Sophomore] Colin O’Neil is arguably the best hitter I have ever played with. It’s a great group of guys with a ton of talent,” said Lamoureux.

O’Neil leads the team with a .488 batting average and is tied for the team lead in doubles with six.

Stebbins added that the spring break trip to Florida, which was the first for the team since his freshman year, really helped the team get on the right track and compete at a high level for its conference schedule.

The team led off the showcase with a 9-2 loss to Iowa and haven’t looked back since, winning all 12 games since returning.

“It was definitely something we wanted to do. Last year other teams were better prepared. It really shows we got the kinks out while we were in Florida,” said Stebbins.

While it’s certain that the team’s record is a result of great pitching and hitting, the team atmosphere helps put the players in a position to succeed.

“I can honestly say I have never been on a more relaxed team in my life,” said Lamoureux. “Every person brings their own personality to the team and we have so much fun playing the game. That being said, every person works their absolute hardest to do their best and win every game we play.”

“We have a great time together,” said Stebbins. “We try not to take things too seriously. We don’t feel like there’s too much pressure.”

If the Minutemen advance past Regionals, they will compete in the NCBA World Series in Columbus, Ga.

“The competition is going to be real tough down there but if we get the pitching and the timely hitting we have all year there is no reason why we can’t go down there and win regional’s,” said Lamoureux.

Eric Mansfield can be reached at [email protected].

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