UMass baseball’s losing streak extends to four in ugly loss

By Tyler Fiedler

Mike Geannelis prepares to run towards third base.(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)
Mike Geannelis prepares to run towards third base. (Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

After getting swept over the weekend against conference-rival Saint Louis, the Massachusetts baseball team traveled to Storrs, Connecticut to take on UConn. It took only a few innings for UMass to take a right hook to the chin in a blowout loss.

The Minutemen (11-15, 7-8 Atlantic 10), continued to slump, losing their fourth straight game in ugly fashion, 13-2 Tuesday.

“We got beat by a good ball club,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “UConn has a lot of good hitters and are much better than some of the previous teams we’ve faced.”

The Minutemen got another lifeless outing from their starting pitcher, this time coming on a rough start from redshirt junior Tim Cassidy.

Cassidy gave up 11 earned runs on 12 hits in five innings.

Playing its eighth game in 11 days, UMass came out flat for the fourth straight game. Stone said he wanted to see the Minutemen come out refreshed against their non-conference opponent, but like the previous weekend, they failed to put it together.

Kyle Adie once again led the UMass attack with a first inning two-out single. After Adie went to second on a wild pitch, Adam Picard drove him in with a single to provide a 1-0 lead. But the Minutemen’s bats were quiet the rest of the way.

Cassidy held his own the first two innings, giving up only two hits. UConn (26-15) opened the floodgates in the third inning though, scoring three runs.

The Minutemen cut the Huskies lead to one in the top of the fourth on a Brandon Walsh sacrifice fly that scored Picard. However, Cassidy couldn’t keep the deficit close. Two straight walks to open the bottom of the frame started another UConn rally.

An ensuing Huskies double-steal was unsuccessful as the Minutemen threw out the runner attempting to steal home. But another walk put runners on first and second and Bobby Melley then crushed a three-run home run off Cassidy to push the UConn lead to five.

However, Stone decided to leave Cassidy in despite giving up seven runs in 32 1/3 innings. The fifth and sixth frames were not kind to Cassidy either, as he gave up four more runs.

“Cassidy faced good hitters and the pitches that were working for him last week weren’t working today,” Stone said. “We have played a lot of games so we had to get innings out of (Cassidy).”

UMass managed two base runners from the fifth inning, both coming on UConn errors. Huskies starter Andrew Zapata went seven innings, giving up two runs and the UConn bullpen was flawless with two hitless innings.

In contrast, the Minutemen’s bullpen would surrender the final two UConn runs with Kevin Lacy and Scott Hovey on the mound in relief.

After six innings, the Minutemen found themselves down 12-2. UConn added its final run in the eighth and shut UMass down in the ninth to clinch the victory.

Stone said he was not pleased with UMass’ recent play and noted the frustration level is increasing. After winning five straight to improve their record to .500, the Minutemen have fallen in the opposite direction.

“Baseball has its ups and downs, and right now we are in the down,” Stone said. “We just need to stay positive and play better.”

The Minutemen need to bounce back quickly now as they next take on Boston College in the Beanpot Championship at Fenway Park Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., weather permitting.

UMass is in its fourth straight Beanpot title game and is looking to win for the first time since 2012.

Tyler Fiedler can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Tyler_Fiedler.