UMass baseball drops 10th straight against Holy Cross

By Victor Pusateri

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)
(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

The longest losing streak of the season continues for the Massachusetts baseball team as its 7-4 defeat to Holy Cross makes it 10 in a row.

UMass (11-21, 7-8 Atlantic 10) blew two separate leads in the game, 3-0 and 4-3, as it dropped to 10 games below .500, which head coach Mike Stone described  as “extremely frustrating.”

The Crusaders took their first lead of the game, breaking a 4-4 tie on a throwing error by catcher Brandon Walsh that allowed Bobby Indeglia to score. A couple of batters later, Jack St. Clair cushioned the lead by driving home two runs with a single to make it 7-4 Holy Cross.

The Minutemen jumped out to an early lead, as they were able to get three unearned runs in the top of the second. Brett Evangelista got the offense started with an RBI fielder’s choice which plated Dylan Morris. Evangelista would later score in a wild pitch from Zach Fox.

Then with two outs, senior Kyle Adie (2-3, RBI and two walks) drove home Vinny Scifo with an RBI single to give UMass and starter Bailey Train a three-run advantage.

Train couldn’t hang on to the lead, or get a single out in the bottom of the second as Holy Cross knocked the freshman out after just an inning of work.

The Crusaders’ Dan Vucovich cut the lead to one with a two-run single, and three batters later Holy Cross would tie the game 3-3 thanks to an RBI single from shortstop Nick Lovullo.

UMass would take the lead again in the top of the fifth as Rob McLam scored off a Mike Geannelis double giving it a 4-3 lead. Holy Cross’ Anthony Critelli tied the game 4-4 with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning.

The score would remain the same for the rest of the game as both Crusaders’ pitchers Collin Manning and Sean Gustin each pitched 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth. Gustin picked up his fifth save of the year with a perfect ninth inning.

Junior Kevin Lacy was the pitcher on record as he pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits, while striking out three after he relieved Train in the second.

Prior to the seventh, Lacy was pitching efficiently and Stone said he does not regret throwing his pitcher out there for another inning of work.

“Lacey was pitching great and I expected him to continue to do so in the seventh. We planned on getting him into the eighth,” Stone said. “We had a lot of pitchers used over the weekend and we were hoping to get more out of him. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.”

Ben Panunzio relieved Lacey in the seventh for his team-leading 11th appearance, and tossed one and 2/3 scoreless innings.

Tough Times

After rattling off five-straight wins in what seems to be a decade ago, UMass finds itself in its deepest hole of the season.

After three-fourths of the season, the Minutemen are currently third to last in the A-10 standings with only 11 games left in the season, nine of which are conference games.

Stone is starting to grow impatient with his team and wants to see what they’re made of in the upcoming games.

“Hopefully, they want it as much as me and the coaching staff do,” Stone said. “We got to work, we got to execute. Basically every aspect of the game we need to improve on. We have to execute our pitches on the mound better, play more solid defense, play better small ball, hit better at the plate.”

UMass will get an opportunity to do all of that Wednesday when it starts an eight-game home stand against Quinnipiac at 3 p.m.

Victor Pusateri can be reached at [email protected]