UMass faces Siena Tuesday behind starter Tim Cassidy

By Victor Pusateri

(James Jesson/Daily Collegian)
(James Jesson/Daily Collegian)

Coming off a weekend series loss against George Washington, the Massachusetts baseball team next heads to Albany, New York to face Siena Tuesday.

The Minutemen (5-10, 5-4 Atlantic 10) have had a roller coaster season thus far with more lows than highs but currently find themselves situated in sixth place in the A-10 standings.

After losing the first five games of the season, UMass seemed to have gotten on the right track following a sweep in a series against Dayton. In the seven games since however, the Minutemen are 2-5.

In its weekend series against the Colonials, UMass won the first game in a Saturday double-header but then lost game two as well as the rubber match Sunday.

Before the Minutemen can focus on their important upcoming weekend series against A-10 rival St. Bonaventure, UMass will face the struggling Saints (6-15, 3-3 MAAC). And it will do so with Tim Cassidy on the mound.

“Cassidy is going tomorrow,” UMass coach Mike Stone said. “We need a good pitching performance from him tomorrow … We will go straight until he needs to come out.”

Cassidy is looking to capitalize on the opportunity as he hasn’t seen much action this year. The redshirt junior has only appeared in three games (0-1), posting a 10.38 ERA in 4.1 innings. He has allowed 12 hits and five runs over those four-plus frames.

The last time Cassidy appeared was last Wednesday when UMass played Boston College. Cassidy pitched one inning of scoreless ball in what Stone called a “staff day,” where eight different pitchers took the mound for the Minutemen.

Pitching hasn’t been the best it could be for UMass, but looking at the big picture, the offense has struggled to score runs. Through their first 15 games, the Minutemen have left a total of 120 runners on base, only have two players hitting above .300 and only hit four home runs as a team thus far.

“We have an approach at the plate, I thought we looked better at the plate against George Washington but it’s just a matter of executing, which we haven’t done,” Stone said.
A bright spot in the UMass lineup, however, has been centerfielder Kyle Adie. The senior leads the Minutemen and currently ranks sixth in the A-10 in batting average at .373.

Stone has taken notice of Adie’s success, not only at the plate, but also in the field.

“He’s one of the pieces that gets us going. He’s a guy who gets on base, he’s speedy, a very good left-handed hitter,” Stone said. “He’s also been doing it in the field. He has been playing great defense in the outfield.”

Much like UMass, Siena has struggled mightily for most of this season but heads into Tuesday on a two-game winning streak. The Saints are coming off a series against Niagara where they managed to take two of three games, outscoring the Purple Eagles 11-4 over the final two matchups.

Both teams come into this series struggling on the offensive side as they both are averaging only around three runs per game.

The Saints are led by senior third baseman Justin Esquerra who leads the team in batting average (.324) and hits (24). He has added two home runs and nine RBIs through 21 games.

Siena also relies on Joe Drpich, who missed the entire fall season due to injury. Drpich currently leads the Saints with three homers and 10 RBIs, while posting a .475 slugging percentage.

Tuesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Victor Pusateri can be reached at [email protected]