UMass baseball plagued by sixth inning in loss to BC

By Victor Pusateri

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

Coming off a shutout defeat and losing two out of three games over the weekend against Atlantic 10 foe VCU, the Massachusetts baseball team looked to get back on track against Boston College Wednesday.

Unfortunately it was more of the same struggles for the Minutemen as they were blown out by the Eagles, 11-1.

UMass (4-8, 4-2 A-10) started off strong on Wednesday as the pitching staff held Boston College scoreless through the first five innings. Pitchers Tim Cassidy, Ryan Venditti, Kevin Lacy, Scott Hovey and Kevin Hassett all contributed to the strong start, each throwing a scoreless inning and allowing a combined three hits and one walk.

But the Minutemen’s offense failed to capitalize off the strong pitching performances as they only squeaked out one run in the first inning off a Rob McLam ground out to third base, which allowed Bryce Maher to score.

Then in the sixth, the Eagles’ offense came alive and knocked in seven runs off five hits, including two home runs to take a commanding 7-1 lead.

Joe Cronin tied the game at one apiece with two outs in the frame and Boston College took the lead in the next at bat after Donovan Casey scored on a wild pitch, making the score 2-1 in favor of Eagles.

Then, Nick Sciortino doubled to right-center field to drive home another run. Two two-run home runs by Scott Braren and Jake Palomaki then broke the game open.

“Yeah that was a bad inning,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “We struggled to throw strikes, balls were hit out of the park, we really struggled to get out of the inning.”

Freshman Bailey Train started the sixth inning for the Minutemen, but couldn’t end it as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, being charged with all six runs on three hits with three walks en route to earning the loss.

The Eagles further padded their lead in the eighth inning off of two-run homers by Blake Butera and Chris Shaw.

After the slow start through the first five frames, Boston College tallied 11 runs and 14 hits, with four home runs in the final three and a half innings.

UMass’ offense continued to struggle as it failed to score after the opening frame. After its three-game series with Dayton from March 20-22, in which the Minutemen averaged more than eight runs per game, UMass has failed to score more than three runs in their fourth consecutive game.

After Wednesday’s game, Stone said he was “absolutely” concerned about the Minutemen’s recent offensive struggles.

“We need to see the ball better, hit the ball better, hit the ball where it is pitched, go the opposite way,” Stone said. “We need to prepare more in practice so it carries over to the field.”

Stone said he particularly wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance Wednesday and wants to see a change in his players’ effort.

“We need to focus on the fundamentals, we can’t just have the mindset that we will come and be able to play.” Stone said. “I wouldn’t say there’s a lack of physical effort but there seems to be a lack of mental preparedness.”

The next opportunity the Minutemen will have to turn things around is this weekend, as their three-game series against George Washington University gets under way on Friday, April 3. The games will be played in Northborough.

Victor Pusateri can be reached at [email protected]