Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball alumni return to Amherst with a victory in Alumni Game

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UMass baseball played the alumni on Saturday.  (Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

UMass baseball played the alumni on Saturday. (Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts baseball team’s fall schedule got under way on Saturday with a battle against a group of familiar opponents: former UMass players.

The game between the current team and the alumni capped off a weekend of festivities, which started on Friday with the team’s ninth annual golf tournament at Hickory Ridge Golf Club in Amherst. With a grill in action behind the third base dugout, the game was more light-hearted than a typical matchup.

“It was good to have the alumni back,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “They really seemed to enjoy it.”

The alumni’s bats got off to a slow start in the beginning of the game, but the offense combined some extra-base hits to tally a couple of late runs in a 3-2 victory. Despite a few errors in the field, the alumni’s pitching staff and defense held the present Minutemen squad to just two runs.

“Give the alumni credit,” Stone said. “They played well.”

As for the performance on the field for the current crop of UMass players, Stone said that he was less than enthused. After grabbing a quick run in the first inning, the Minutemen scored just once more the rest of the game.

An alumnus congratulates his teammate as he crosses home plate.  (Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

An alumnus congratulates his teammate as he crosses home plate. (Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

“It was disappointing,” Stone said. “We didn’t do much hitting.”

Both teams seemed rusty, as the play on the field was not the cleanest. Having not swung a bat in years in some cases, the alumni put up some interesting at-bats.

In one such case, the batter began walking back to the dugout after the second strike, causing the alumni bench and those in the stands to break out in laughter. The batter returned to the batter’s box only to watch the next pitch go by for a called third strike.

The current Minutemen were not immune to this sloppy play as well, as there were a large number of strikeouts and they had a player get picked off of first base.

Stone said that the team was playing some of its younger players, which accounted for some of UMass’ struggles on Saturday.  However, he added that it presented a good opportunity to get some of these less experienced players some in-game playing time in a non-pressure situation.

The highlight of the weekend was when the team went to Hickory Ridge for the annual golf tournament, according to Stone.

“We had a lot of people there and it was a good time,” Stone said. “I thought we were going to have more alumni for (Saturday’s game) but not everyone came.”

The alumni had a limited roster on Saturday with only nine players taking part in the game.

The Minutemen will be back in action on Oct. 4 when they host Fairfield to truly kick off their fall schedule.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]

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