UMass baseball avoids being swept by Fordham with win on Sunday

By Tyler Fiedler

Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian
Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts baseball team had to play three extra innings against Fordham on Sunday, but the Minutemen will most remember the final nine as they avoided the weekend sweep with a 4-1 win.

Saturday’s 5-3 Rams win was completed Sunday due to rain in the seventh inning, and UMass junior Andrew Grant followed with a dominant performance, giving up one run and striking out nine in a 128-pitch, complete game effort.

“(Grant) gave us more than we expected,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “It was a gutsy performance.”
Grant lowered his ERA down to 4.46 from 5.26. The Fordham hitters struggled to get anything going, getting more than one runner on base in only two innings.

The Minutemen (9-26, 7-11 Atlantic 10) got the scoring going in the second inning when Dylan Begin got his first of three hits for the game. Two ground balls later and the Minutemen had an early 1-0 lead.

The Rams responded in the bottom of the inning after a two out double by Matthew Cianci plated Matthew Kozuch.

Both teams were held scoreless the next three innings until Begin lined an RBI single to give the Minutemen a lead once again.

The Minutemen added two runs in the seventh on RBI singles by Nick Sanford and Begin. A three run lead was plenty of support for Grant, who shut down the Rams.

“(Begin) was big for us on the offensive end,” Stone said. “He had some clutch and continued hitting the whole game.”

Fordham made it interesting in the ninth when Grant gave up a leadoff walk and threw a wild pitch to advance Tim Swatek to second. A base hit by Charles Galiano gave the Rams runners on the corners with no outs.

“I felt like this was Grant’s game to win or lose,” Stone said about his decision to leave Grant in.

Grant responded by striking out the next two hitters and getting Cianci to pop up to end the game.

UMass loses postponed game

The rain came down Saturday in the Bronx, N.Y., which resulted in a postponement for the Minutemen and the Rams, but ended in a 5-3 Fordham win. All the scoring came in the first two innings with John Jennings, giving UMass an early 1-0. The Rams countered with two in the first and two in the second to grab a 4-3 lead after two.

“We had our chances but could not get across another run,” Stone said. “The rain delays took the energy out of our guys and we could not recover.”

Brett Kennedy had a career high nine strikeouts for the Rams.

UMass drops series opener

Sophomore Brandon Walsh was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle, but the Minutemen still got doubled up by the Rams 10-5.

UMass held an early 4-0 lead, but a big, five-run eighth inning by the Rams proved to be costly for the Minutemen.

“We had an early lead but the eighth inning put it too far out of reach,” Stone said. “It was a tough loss because I felt like we had our chances.”

Freshman Mike Geannelis took the loss in relief for UMass as he allowed six runs, four earned, on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts. J.C. Porter earned the win for Fordham, working 12/3 hitless innings out of the bullpen with no walks and one strikeout.

Tyler Fiedler can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @Tyler_Fiedler.