UMass baseball’s winning streak ends in lost weekend in Saint Louis

By Tyler Fiedler

Brandon Walsh leads off of first base during the Hartford pitch. (Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)
Brandon Walsh leads off of first base during the Hartford pitch. (Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

After winning a season-high five straight games heading into the weekend, the Massachusetts baseball team started a new streak in its road trip to Saint Louis, losing three straight to the Billikens and getting swept for the second time this season.

It was a tough weekend for the Minutemen (11-14, 7-8 Atlantic 10) who got shut out in two of the three games. UMass fell in the finale in a high scoring 13-7 affair.

“We were not very successful, it just wasn’t a great trip,” Minutemen coach Mike Stone said. “We didn’t do much in any category to give ourselves a chance to win.”

After getting blanked in the first game of Saturday’s double-header, the Minutemen’s bats woke up and scored two runs in the first inning. However, starting pitcher Andrew Grant could not keep the lead in the bottom of the inning as the Billikens (27-12, 8-3 A-10) scored four runs on five hits. Once again, the Minutemen were left playing catch up.

UMass bats came alive again in the second frame, scoring two more runs on a Rob McLam single and a Kyle Adie sacrifice fly to even the score. But after a scoreless third, the Billikens broke the game wide open with a seven-run fourth inning, knocking Grant out of the game. Grant (0-4) went 3.2 innings, giving up nine earned runs in the loss.

“Our starters weren’t sharp and didn’t go deep in games so we had to use every available pitcher,” Stone said. “They didn’t command pitches and fell behind in count and that’s why they struggled.”

Down 11-4, UMass stepped to the plate in the top of the fifth. The Minutemen loaded the bases in the fifth with nobody out. Brandon Walsh and Dylan Morris hit back-to-back singles, cutting the lead to 11-6. Mike Geannelis, who was 2-for-3 with two walks, scored the seventh and final run for the Minutemen on a wild pitch.

However, Evan Mackinstosh would surrender two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, increasing the deficit to 13-7. The Billikens’ bullpen held UMass the rest of the way to clinch the sweep.

UMass loses one-run game despite Walsh’s gem

Walsh took the hill in the first game of Saturday’s double-header for the Minutemen and was spectacular, going eight innings and giving up just one run on seven hits with seven strikeouts.

Walsh’s counterpart Josh Moore was just as good if not better. Moore threw eight shutout innings, allowing five hits and finishing with no walks and six strikeouts. The Minutemen failed to get a runner to third base after the third inning.

Stone was very pleased with the way Walsh pitched despite the result being a loss.

“It was a real impressive performance,” Stone said. “Walsh came to play and gave us a chance to win and if we executed better we would’ve won for him.”

Seven different Minutemen recorded hits but the team was unable to string anything together against the tough junior Moore. Moore improved to 4-1 with a 2.86 earned run average while Walsh fell to 1-1 with a 2.04 ERA.

The Billikens scored the lone run of the contest in the bottom of the fourth inning on a two-out RBI single by Danny Murphy.

UMass shut out in opener

The Minutemen’s five-game win streak came to end in its 6-0 loss to Saint Louis Friday.

Ryan Moloney (2-3) struggled all game, giving up six runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings. Moloney gave up a three-run home run to Murphy that pushed the Billikens’ lead to 4-0. That would prove to be enough for Saint Louis pitcher Clay Smith (7-0), who remains undefeated on the season.

The Minutemen had no answer for Smith, who gave up five hits in seven innings. Walsh finished with two of UMass’ six hits.

Colton Frabasilio knocked in the final two runs for the Billikens with a double in the sixth.

“We have important games coming up, we need to get refreshed,” Stone said. “We look forward to taking on UConn, and then of course the Beanpot Championship.”

Tyler Fiedler can be reached at [email protected]