Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball alumni return to face current crop of Minutemen

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Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

Some old faces returned to Earl Lorden Field Saturday, as former Massachusetts baseball players competed against the current team in UMass’ annual alumni game.

In a game where both teams battled back and forth, UMass baseball’s underclassmen defeated the returning alumni 10-7 in a competitive, yet friendly, matchup.

Following the 10th annual UMass Baseball Golf Tournament, the baseball game served as a conclusion to a weekend full of festivities for former and current athletes alike.

“It’s always great to see some of my former players,” UMass coach Mike Stone said.

After the team already had preseason contests against Fairfield and Dartmouth, Saturday’s third preseason game gave Stone the opportunity to see underclassmen perform. The alumni had a roster of only 11 players, and the game was played under brisk conditions.

The current UMass team raced out to an early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, fueled by a pair of two-out, two-RBI doubles from freshmen Cooper Mrowka and Matt Hosman.

Freshman Tyler Zuppa started the game on the mound for the Minutemen and impressed while showing a versatile repertoire, which included an effective fastball-curveball combination. He surrendered one hit over two scoreless innings.

UMass alumni erupted in the top of the fourth inning, registering five runs behind four hits, highlighted by a booming shot to the left-center gap by Chad Paronto that plated two. A member of the class of 1996, Paronto is a former MLB reliever, most famous for his time spent on the Atlanta Braves from 2006-07.

After UMass baseball tied the game back up after an error in the bottom of the fourth inning, freshman Evan Delaney threw a runner out at home on one bounce from left field in the top of the fifth to preserve the tie.

Following a two-run top of the sixth for UMass alumni, the underclassmen reclaimed the lead for the final time in the bottom half. Delaney came up clutch again with a double to the left-center gap that ultimately plated the game-winning run.

Heading into the top of the seventh, leading 10-7, Stone turned to freshman Logan Greene to close the game for the underclassmen. Pitching a scoreless inning, the game came to an exciting conclusion when sophomore Hunter Carey made an acrobatic catch in right field, registering the final out.

“It was great to get back out there and see all my old teammates and coach Stone,” said Jim Macdonald, former UMass outfielder from the class of 2009. “I haven’t gotten to play too often since leaving UMass and it’s always fun to be out on the diamond.”

After going 3-for-4 on the day, when asked about any possible advice he’d give to the current players, Macdonald said early preseason training pays dividends when the start of the spring season approaches.

“Work hard in the winter and it will pay off in the summer. There are always ways to improve on your game,” he said.

UMass baseball closed its preseason schedule with a matchup at Dartmouth on Sunday.

Matthew Williams can be reached at [email protected]

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