The Massachusetts baseball team looks to rebound from a tough five-game road trip as it returns home to take on non-conference foe Boston College in the first round of the 2013 Beanpot Tournament at Earl Lorden Field on Wednesday.
The winner will earn a spot in the Beanpot Championship game scheduled for April 29 at Fenway Park in Boston. Northeastern will host Harvard on Wednesday to determine the other Beanpot finalist.
During the previous five matchups away from Amherst, the Minutemen (4-17, 1-5 Atlantic 10) dropped four games, while scoring just eight total runs. The UMass offense continues to struggle at the plate, as the team’s batting average has dropped to .222.
A bright spot in the struggling Minutemen lineup this season has been junior third baseman Nik Campero. The Wallingford, Conn. native leads the teams with 23 hits and 10 runs batted in this season and is batting .303 this year.
UMass’ troubles early on in the season could be partially attributed to the lack of home games through the first month of the season. The Minutemen are 2-1 at Earl Lorden Field in 2013, but just 2-16 on the road.
Fortunately for the Minutemen, the game with the Eagles (5-25) is the first of a six-game homestand that features a three-game A-10 series with St. Bonaventure.
Boston College had had difficulty putting together wins for many of the same reasons as UMass this season.
The Eagles head to Amherst after getting swept at home in an Atlantic Coast Conference series with the Clemson Tigers this past weekend, though they bounced back yesterday with a 9-5 victory over Dartmouth.
One of Boston College’s major problems this season has been the performance of its starting pitchers. The Eagles’ starting rotation of Hunter Gordon, Eric Stevens and Andrew Chin have a combined record of 1-17 on the season.
As a whole, their pitching staff has struggled to the tune of a 6.57 earned run average.
Boston College’s most dangerous hitter this season has been junior John Hennessy, who bats in the cleanup spot in the Eagles’ lineup. Going into Tuesday, the third baseman led all starters with a .258 batting average, .347 on base percentage and a .371 slugging percentage and had driven in 11 runs on the year.
The Eagles have a total team batting average of .199 and an on base percentage of .285 this season. The team averages almost seven strikeouts a game.
Boston College’s early season schedule has been loaded with away games. And, just like UMass, the Eagles have also had a problem playing on the road, posting a record of 3-16 away from Chestnut Hill so far.
First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Chris Corso can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Corso.