The Massachusetts baseball team won its first Atlantic 10 series of the season after taking two of three from St. Bonaventure at Earl Lorden Field this weekend.
UMass (7-18, 3-6 A-10) has won four of its last six games.
The Minutemen’s successful weekend was capped off with a hard fought, 6-5 comeback victory on Sunday afternoon.
UMass blew a 4-0 lead after the Bonnies (10-17, 3-6 A-10) plated five in the top of the seventh, but the Minutemen responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame to hold on for the win.
Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Rob McLam drove in the game-tying run with an RBI single and two batters later, Dylan Begin drove in the go-ahead run to give UMass the lead back, this time for good.
“We were up four to nothing kind of cruising but baseball changes obviously, and them getting five runs wasn’t in the plan,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “But we bounced back and put ourselves ahead, so it was a good win.”
The Minutemen controlled the 4-0 lead for the majority of the game until the Bonnies finally got to UMass starting pitcher Conor LeBlanc for two runs in the top of the seventh inning, prompting Stone to call on Ron Wallace from the bullpen.
Wallace didn’t fair much better, as SBU plated three more runs in the inning — two charged to LeBlanc — before getting out of the frame.
LeBlanc went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks.
The Minutemen struck first in the game with four runs in the bottom of the third highlighted by RBI base hits from Begin (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) and McLam (2-for-3, 2 RBIs).
McLam went 6-for-12 over the weekend with six RBIs.
“It seems like everyone has being swinging real well and we’ve played well with A-10 competition,” McLam said. “Everyone has been swinging at real good pitches and not chasing bad ones.”
Wallace shut the door on the Bonnies in their last two plate appearances, while gaining his first win of the season after striking out Eric Jutca for the final out.
UMass takes Game 2 of doubleheader
Following a heart-breaking 4-3 loss in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Minutemen struck back in the second game with a 9-3 blowout victory led by the bat of outfielder Adam Picard.
The UMass offense began to heat up in the third inning of Game 2 as Picard’s two-run home run highlighted a three-run frame. The homer was the underclassman’s first of two on the day.
“Honestly I was just looking to put it in play as hard as I could and luckily they went of the bat well,” Picard said in an interview with UMass Athletics.
The Minutemen went on to score six more runs on 14 hits, toppling Bonnies starting pitcher Asa Johnson.
Jordan Pace had a strong outing on the hill, allowing just three runs over eight innings of work while fanning three.
Minutemen come up just short in Game 1
In Game 1 of the doubleheader, UMass trailed 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and one out, but Vinny Scifo lined out to third and pinch runner Zach Littman was caught off the bag, resulting in a game-ending double play.
The Bonnies jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning as Jason Radwan and Ingraham had two-out RBI base hits following an error by UMass third baseman Paul Yanakopulos.
It was a 4-2 game in the eighth when McLam plated Ryan Cusick to cut the deficit to one, but that was as close as the Minutemen would get.
Chris Corso can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Corso.