Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball picks up second straight win in 3-2 victory at Northeastern Tuesday

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

The wind and bitterness of the Boston afternoon kept the score between the Massachusetts baseball team and Northeastern low, which worked in favor of the Minutemen who pulled out a 3-2 win Tuesday.

UMass (5-10) won its second straight game on the back of strong pitching performances. Freshman starter Casey Aubin got his first win of his collegiate career after pitching 52/3 innings, giving up two runs while striking out four and walking three.

“(Aubin) did a real nice job today,” Minutemen coach Mike Stone said. “It was a tough day to pitch because there was a lot of wind, but he executed pitches.”

Aubin got himself into a couple of jams on the mound including a critical one in the sixth inning. Aubin hit Northeastern’s Max Burt with two outs, and after an errant pickoff attempt by Aubin, Burt found himself on third base as the tying run. Cam Walsh then worked a walked, knocking Aubin out of the game. Stone brought in reliever Kevin Lacy, who shut the door by striking out Mason Koppens to end the frame with no runs allowed.

“That last out in the sixth was big for us,” Stone said. “Lacy located his fastball and curveball and pitched two strong innings after (the sixth).”

Lacy has held opponents scoreless in all four of his appearances this season.

After Lacy was relieved, Evan Mackintosh closed the door in the ninth, leaving a man stranded on second for his third save of the season. Mackintosh, like Lacy has posted a sub-two earned run average in 101/3 innings of work in 2016.

“Mackintosh pitched great again today,” Stone said. “The bullpen has been giving us some quality innings of late.”

UMass’ offense did just enough today to pull out the win Tuesday. The offense came early in the first when leadoff hitter Vinny Scifo singled to begin the game. He then stole second and scored two batters later on a John Jennings single to give the Minutemen an early 1-0 lead.

Northeastern (10-12) evened the score in the third after a leadoff triple from Koppens, where Charlie McConnell later drove him in on a single to shortstop. The fourth inning was the biggest for the Minutemen when the struggling bottom of the order came through in the clutch.

Hunter Carey walked to begin the inning and junior second baseman Bryce Maher stepped to the plate and connected on an RBI triple to give the Minutemen a 2-1 lead. After two quick outs, Jon Avallone stepped in the box and ran the count to 2-2 before hitting an RBI single to extend the UMass lead to two.

“(It was) nice to see (Avallone and Maher) experience success,” Stone said. “Hopefully they can start contributing at the bottom of the order.”

The bottom of the Minutemen’s order will be important moving forward as the group has struggled mightily this season with the exception of Avallone. The last three hitters in the lineup in Tuesday’s game, Matt Bare, Maher and Cooper Mrowka are all hitting .205 or lower.

“It was a tough day to hit and to get into the flow,” Stone said. “(It’s) good to get clutch hitting from those guys.”

The Minutemen now return home to Amherst for matchups against Boston College and Rhode Island on Wednesday and Saturday respectively. The Minutemen will then travel to Kingston, Rhode Island to face the Rams again Sunday.

Tyler Fiedler can be reach at  [email protected] and followed @Tyler_Fiedler.

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