Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball splits doubleheader with Davidson Saturday

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(Daily Collegian/Judith Gibson-Okunieff)

(Daily Collegian/Judith Gibson-Okunieff)

The Massachusetts baseball team needed some type of pick-me-up.

The Minutemen had lost their first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Davidson in excruciating fashion. Starting pitcher Tim Cassidy toed the rubber in the second game of the day, knowing his bullpen needed relief and his team needed to prevent a potential weekend sweep on the road at the hands of the Wildcats.

Cassidy delivered, surrendering just one run and scattering five hits over eight innings as UMass won 7-1. The redshirt senior picked up his first win of the season.

“That was the best he has ever pitched against a quality ballclub,” Minutemen coach Mike Stone said. “He got us into the eighth and had to battle innings where there were runners in scoring position, and he came through in those spots, so we think he pitched real well.

Senior John Jennings provided the offensive spark for the Minutemen needed, hitting two solo home runs. Outfielder Brett Evangelista chipped in with three hits, while Bryce Maher added two.

The win helped UMass bounce back just hours after a heartbreaking loss.

The Minutemen battled Davidson into extra innings in the first game of Saturday’s double-header, and appeared to be on their way to their fourth win of the season, taking a 4-2 lead in the top of the 11th inning.  

Reliever Evan Mackintosh took the mound in the bottom half of the innings. He had pitched three scoreless innings to that point, but couldn’t close the door, giving up two runs before being replaced by Ben Panunzio.

Panunzio threw only two pitches before Tyler Agard singled to left center, plating the winning walk-off run for the Wildcats in 5-4 victory.

“We believe we had the right guy in there. We just didn’t finish it,” Stone said of Mackintosh. “We had some good clutch hitting in the top of the 11th and played pretty well throughout the game, but it just got away at the end.”

UMass drops series opener

Entering Friday’s A-10 opener against Davidson, UMass pitcher Ryan Moloney had been the Minutemen’s most consistent pitcher. Despite coming into the start with a 1-2 record, he was sporting a 2.18 earned run average and had given up no more than two earned runs in any of his three appearances.

But Moloney did not see similar results Friday. The junior went 6 1/3 innings, giving up seven earned runs and 10 hits as UMass fell 10-2. With the start, his ERA jumped from 2.18 to 4.00.

Moloney’s counterpart, Clark Beeker, put on another great performance for Davidson, pitching eight innings and allowing two runs along the way. The redshirt senior has led the Wildcats’ staff throughout the early season as he sports a 5-0 record and 2.00 ERA.

Davidson’s offense put the game away early with a six-run second inning. Three Wildcats players had multi-hit games, led by catcher Jake Sidwell who had three hits on the day and two RBIs.

The Minutemen mustered 10 hits, but struggled with leaving runners on base, stranding nine runners throughout the game. Sophomore Hunter Carey hit a solo home run in the defeat, the first of his collegiate career.

Adding to UMass’ struggles was its defense, which had four errors in the game.

“(Friday) was not good at all,” Stone said. “We didn’t drive people in and we made four errors, so that wasn’t good.”

“Even though we were disappointed about our effort (Friday), we bounced back and had a really good two ballgames (Saturday),” Stone added. “It showed a lot of character bouncing back, especially winning the last one.”

The Minutemen will return to action Tuesday when they take on in-state rival Northeastern in Boston. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @aaucoin34.

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