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 looks to continue to build confidence against non-conference opponents

James Jesson/Daily Collegian
James Jesson/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts baseball team is playing its best baseball of the season with two non-conference games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

The Minutemen (7-20,5-7 Atlantic 10) travel to New Britain, Conn. to play the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut Tuesday and then head home to Ear Lorden Field to host UMass Lowell on Wednesday.

“We feel much better than we have in the past,” head coach Mike Stone said. “I think we are starting to play good baseball and we have to continue to play hard, have a good attitude, keep getting good pitching. If we continue to make things happen and continue to play good team baseball than I like our chances right now.”

On April 6, the Minutemen ended their seventh-consecutive loss when outfielder Kyle Adie hit a game-winning single to lead UMass to a surprising 5-4 victory over the Dayton Flyers.

After the series finale against Dayton, Stone hoped that the comeback conference win could give the Minutemen a boost in confidence heading into the bulk of the Atlantic 10 schedule.

“I hope that this will get us going and just give us some confidence from winning a ball game,” Stone said on April 7. “This should help us stay confident and keep working hard so we can continue to play well at the end of the game.”

Since then, Stone’s wishes for Minutemen have been proven to be true.

UMass has outscored its opponents 16-to-eight in the past four games. The Minutemen spent the weekend winning two of three games against conference-foe Saint Louis, who began the series in first place in the A-10.

UMass climbed from last of the pack to eighth place in the conference after winning the weekend series.

Stone thinks that the reason for the team’s recent success has been the fact that the Minutemen have found a way to come up with big plays towards the latter innings of games.

“We have executed. We’ve played well throughout the games but the most important thing is we have executed at the end of the game when it really matters. That has what has been the difference really,” said Stone.

Minutemen head to Central Conn.

The Blue Devils (11-12, 3-5 New England Conference) have lost three of their last four games in an away series against Bryant this past weekend. The team has not seen much production on offense this season, hitting .255 as a team with a collective .295 slugging percentage and just one total home run.

Central Connecticut’s top offensive threat this season has been Josh Ingham who leads the team in hits (30) and runs batted in (11). The second baseman hits in the cleanup spot of the Blue Devils lineup, and has a .375 batting average, with a .425 slugging percentage this season.

Stone hopes to combat the Blue Devils lineup Tuesday with starting pitcher Tim Cassidy. The redshirt sophomore will try to rebound off of a four inning, six-run effort against Boston College on April 2 at Boston College.

UMass hosts Lowell Tuesday

 The Minutemen will play their second-straight non-conference game against UMass Lowell on Tuesday afternoon at Earl Lorden Field.

The River Hawks (10-13, 3-5 America East Conference) were swept this past weekend in a  three-game series against the University of Maine.

Lowell scored seven total runs in the series and lost each game by one run.

The River Hawks have struggled with away games this season with a 4-9 record.

First baseman Matt Mottola has been a major part of the Lowell lineup this season, and leads Lowell with a .373 batting average.

Junior Matthew Sanchez has started in all of the River Hawks 23 games this season and leads the team in at bats (91), hits (31), totally bases (38) and slugging percentage (.418).

Stone says he has no probable pitcher named for Wednesday as he and the team are taking things “one game at a time.”

“We take this games just like all the games in the past. You know I just want to play well,” Stone said. “If we play well, we’ll feel good about the result I think. We’re just going with the mindset of one game at a time.”

Chris Corso can be reached at [email protected], and can be followed on Twitter @ChrisCorso5.

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