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 advances to NCBA World Series

With a trio of victories this weekend in the North Atlantic Regional Tournament, the Massachusetts club baseball team (25-2, 14-1 North Conference) advanced to the National Club Baseball Association World Series in Columbus, Ga., making its first appearance since2005.

The team’s player-coach, Owen Stebbins, was more than excited about the team’s advancement and the way it performed last weekend. Regardless of his enthusiasm though, Stebbins was quick to note exactly who the squad had to beat to get there.

While victories over Pittsburgh and Delaware did not come easily, the 7-6 win over PennState in the tournament’s championship game proved most exciting and gratifying.“[We] knocked off the top dog,” said Stebbins. He later added that the Nittany Lions hadadvanced to the World Series every year since 2005.

Before they could play for the title, the Minutemen had to get by the Panthers first onFriday, and it didn’t come easy. Stebbins said that the offense started off a little slower thanusual, but the pitching performance from junior Matthew Lamoureux kept UMass in the gamelong enough to allow them to manufacture some runs and earn the 5-1 victory.

The second game against Delaware featured sophomore Matthew Rosenzweig on themound. Like Lamoureux a day earlier, he didn’t disappoint, tossing a complete game andallowing only two runs in the 3-2 victory.

Sunday’s championship game against Penn State didn’t happen without a little help from Mother Nature. In between the first two innings was a six hour rain delay that put the rest of thegame in question. Stebbins described the idea of continuing and finishing the game that dayas “up in the air” because of the weather and management involved.

Following the delay, the teams were finally able to continue playing though not at thescheduled field in Williamsport. The game was relocated to a field located about an hour and 15minutes away, and there, the game was able to resume.

The Minutemen got off to another slow start after the delay and was stymied through thefirst four frames. After failing to score a run in the first half of the game, the squad trailed, 5-0,going into the bottom of the fifth inning.

Then, the offense finally woke up.

After a couple of runners reached base to start the inning, leadoff hitter Ben Chadwick hita three-run home run to make the score, 5-3. Colin O’Neil and Matt Tobias then hit back-to-backdoubles to cut UMass’s deficit to one. Rich Casella capped off the rally with a two-run homer toput the Minutemen ahead,6-5.

However, as quickly as they took the lead, the Minutemen gave it right back in the top ofthe seventh inning on a close play at the plate after a wild pitch. The Nittany Lions scored a runand tied the game at sixUMass rallied again, though, as the O’Neil-Tobias combination struck again with a single and a double to bring in a run.

The comeback captured the Regional Title and sealed a trip to the World Series in Georgia, beginning on Friday. Rosenzweig, in relief of Adam Gabel, picked up the win for UMass.

“[This was easily] the most memorable game I’ve played in,” Stebbins said. “So much[was] on the line. It’s pretty amazing that we pulled this off.”

The NCBA World Series includes eight teams in a double elimination tournament. TheMinutemen will play as the No. 2 seed and will face Western Washington in the first round.

UMass is the only team in the tournament that has played in the World Series before. Other teams competing will be Michigan, Texas Tech, Iowa, California-Santa Barbara and Eastern Carolina.

The team’s first game will be Friday, May 27th at 3 p.m.

Eric Mansfield can be reached at [email protected].

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