UMass baseball’s ninth inning rally falls short in series finale with Richmond

By Ross Gienieczko

Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian
Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian

A five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth wasn’t enough for the Massachusetts baseball team Sunday afternoon at Earl Lorden Field, as the Minutemen fell 10-7 to Richmond in the series finale of a three-game set.

Mike Hart belted a pinch-hit solo home run to start UMass’ final inning outburst, the first of his career. Jon Avallone followed him with a pinch-hit double and was later driven in by Vinny Scifo, leaving UMass with the bases loaded and one out. The Minutemen looked to be in business after Spiders pitcher Keenan Bartlett then walked in the third run of the inning.

But UMass’ rally came up short after Ray Harron replaced Bartlett on the mound for the final two outs. Kyle Adie reached on a fielder’s choice that plated two more runs but the game then ended with a Hunter Carey ground out to second base.

Brandon Walsh started on the mound for the Minutemen (13-23, 9-9 Atlantic 10) and took the loss, surrendering all seven runs. His record fell to 1-3 for the season.

Richmond came out swinging and put runs across early and often. Matt Dacey started the scoring with a two-run home run in the top of the first, one of three hits on the day for the third baseman.

Doug Kraeger tripled and scored in the second and the Spiders would do even more damage in the top of the third. With one out and runners on second and third, Tanner Stanley blasted a three-run homer to give Richmond a 6-0 lead.

In the fourth, UMass finally mustered a response. Adie tripled and later scored while Mike Geannelis walked and came around to score as well.

But that was all the Minutemen would get off Spiders starter Dylan Stoops. The redshirt senior went six strong innings and struck out eight, while allowing just four hits and two unearned runs. It was the fourth win of the year for Stoops, who lowered his ERA to 4.80.

Richmond added two more runs in the sixth inning and another pair in the seventh for some insurance that would prove crucial. The Spiders increased their lead to 10-2, giving them the cushion to withstand UMass’ rally in the ninth.

UMass snaps losing streak with pair of wins

Trailing 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning against Richmond Saturday, UMass rallied to score two runs, taking a 5-4 lead that would hold up for the final score. It was the second consecutive win for the Minutemen and clinched the series victory for UMass.

Senior Adam Picard’s single in the eighth drove in two runners to give the Minutemen their first lead of the game. UMass trailed 1-0, 2-1 and 4-3 before finally taking control.

Conor LeBlanc started on the mound for the Minutemen and went 51/3, giving up four runs (three earned). Andrew Grant came in relief and picked up the win, his first of the year.

Grant pitched 22/3 of no-hit ball before Mike Geannelis pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his third save.

In the Friday’s series opener, the Minutemen snapped an 11-game losing streak with a walk-off victory over the Spiders, 3-2, in 10 innings.

Geannelis played hero in extra innings with a single in the bottom of the 10th that drove in senior Paul Yanakopulos for the winning run. Geannelis was 2-for-4 on the day.

Sophomore Ryan Moloney started on the mound for UMass and had a strong outing. He didn’t factor into the decision but went 71/3 innings, giving up two hits and two runs. Evan Mackintosh relieved him and earned the win, improving to 2-0.

The Minutemen initially took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Mike Hart doubled with runners on second and third, but didn’t lead for long.

A double from Richmond’s Michael Morman and a UMass throwing error allowed the Spiders to tie the game 2-2 in the sixth frame. The teams would then remain deadlocked at two apice for another four innings until the 10th inning single from Geannelis.

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