Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball drops series finale vs. GW

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(Alex Aritan/Daily Collegian)

(Alex Aritan/Daily Collegian)

After splitting a doubleheader Friday afternoon, the Massachusetts baseball team came up short Sunday, falling 8-2 to George Washington at the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough.

The series was initially scheduled to take place at Earl Lorden Field in Amherst, but poor field conditions forced the games to be moved to the all-turf surface in Northborough.

The Minutemen (5-10, 5-4 Atlantic 10) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning thanks to leftfielder Dylan Morris’ first-career home run, but the Colonials struck back their next time at the plate as Andrew Selby hit a two-run home run to give GW the lead. The Colonials plated two more runs in the top of the fifth to stretch their lead to 4-1.

GW (17-9, 6-2 A-10) relied on a strong effort from its bullpen to take the rubber match of the series and moved into third place in the conference.

Luke Olsen went 41/3 innings in relief, striking out five and scattering four hits and one earned run to pick up his first win of the year. Craig LeJeune added two scoreless innings of his own out of the bullpen. Colonials relievers went a combined 71/3 innings and allowed just two runs, striking out seven UMass batters.

The Minutemen dried up offensively after Morris’ solo shot. They mustered seven hits for the game but just two of the extra base variety. UMass left nine runners on base and had just four hits through the final five innings of the game.

“Today, we struggled offensively,” Minutemen coach Mike Stone said after Sunday’s loss. “We didn’t manufacture anything. It’s something we have to do to be successful.”

Reigning A-10 Rookie of the Year Mike Geannelis returned from an injury that cost him 10 games with a pinch hit appearance in the ninth inning. Geannelis hit his first homer of the season.

“He had a great at bat,” Stone said. “He had a 3-1 count, got a pitch to hit and barreled up.”

Geannelis’ return was a welcome sight for UMass. The sophomore from Williamstown was penciled into the cleanup spot for the Minutemen before the season started and his absence left a sizable gap in the middle of the team’s lineup.

On the mound, senior captain Andrew Grant went six innings, allowing seven hits and six runs, though only four of them were earned. He took the loss and moved to 0-3 on the season.

“(GW) was a good ball club and they hit the ball well,” Stone said.

UMass, GW split Friday doubleheader

After UMass took the series opener, 7-6, George Washington responded with a 3-1 win in the second game Friday afternoon, as the Minutemen and Colonials split their doubleheader.

GW raced out to a 3-1 lead in the early game, but UMass came roaring back. A Brandon Walsh home run and Vinny Scifo RBI single in the bottom of the second inning tied the game and the Minutemen scored twice more in the next inning to take a 5-3 lead.

Adam Picard added a two-run homer in the fifth to give the Minutemen some insurance heading into the late innings of the game that would prove crucial.

The Colonials rallied with three runs to close the gap to 7-6, but Walsh pulled double duty and entered the game as a reliever to close the game for his first save of the year.

Conor LeBlanc earned his second win of the season (2-2), going eight innings and allowing five runs to lead UMass to victory.

Minutemen sophomore Ryan Moloney pitched a complete game in the second game, but it wasn’t enough as GW took the nightcap 3-1. UMass was silenced offensively by GW starter Bobby LeWarne, who earned his fifth win of the season by going 71/3 innings and allowing just six hits.

LeJeune and Eddie Muhl then combined to pitch the final 12/3 innings in relief without allowing a hit, as Muhl earned his 10th save of the season.

It was a missed opportunity for the Minutemen, who spoiled the first complete game of Moloney’s career.

The right-hander allowed just two earned runs, struck out three and didn’t issue a walk. He improved his earned run average for the season to 2.48.

“He commands the zone very well,” Stone said. “He has a good sinker, got ahead in the count and kept the ball in the bottom third of the zone.

“He was poised and competed very well.”

Ross Gienieczko can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RossGien.[liveblog]

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