Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball has fourth straight game postponed as first round Beanpot matchup against BC pushed back one week

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(Daily Collegian Archives)

(Daily Collegian Archives)

When one thinks about baseball, allusions to sunshine, fresh air and sweet summertime fill the brain. America’s pastime has always been reserved for the best weather and it’s a major part of what made baseball what it is today.

For the Massachusetts baseball team (5-11, 1-2 Atlantic 10), Mother Nature has reared her ugly all too much this season.

The bad news just kept coming Tuesday afternoon, when it was announced that the Minutemen’s matchup with Boston College (14-10, 3-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the first round of the baseball Beanpot tournament Wednesday was postponed due to field conditions not being up to par after an April snowstorm. The two teams will make up the game next Wednesday, April 13, at BC.

For UMass this marks the fourth straight game that has been either postponed or cancelled due to weather, and the sixth time it has happened this season.

Catcher John Jennings understands the disadvantage of playing college baseball in New England and the imminent weather struggles that comes with it.

“We’re already at a disadvantage once the season starts because a lot of the teams in our conference have already been out there on the field practicing,” Jennings said. “We’re not actually getting out on to the field until the first game of the year, while other teams have been outside practicing all year.”

Jennings realizes it’s an inconvenience, but ends up taking it in stride.

“Once the season is started and you’re in the swing of things, it can be annoying to have a setback like this, but there is nothing you can do about it,” Jennings said. “You got to just keep preparing like you would have otherwise.”

Redshirt senior Tim Cassidy was tasked with pitching for the Minutemen on Wednesday had they played as scheduled. Cassidy has a 1-2 record on the season and has an earned run average of 5.06 in three starts.

Cassidy and the other pitchers are constantly focused on maintaining their routine and that routine can be disturbed when rainouts or cancellations occur.

“As pitchers, we are usually on a five-day schedule,” Cassidy said. “With cancellations and postponements, it’s more of a mental thing just trying to keep sharp and be ready once coach calls upon you to pitch.”

“For me personally, the day before the start I am always thinking about that start the next day to mentally prepare myself for it.” Cassidy continued. “When cancellations come, you have to make sure you’re remaining sharp.”

Offensively, Jennings believes these cancellations affect the hitter’s routines as well.

“It’s different hitting outside than it is hitting inside in the cage,” Jennings said. “Outside you can see the flight of the ball and get a better view of where you need to improve. When you’re inside you don’t get as accurate of a depiction of that and just in general the morale of the team is better when we’re outside.”

Cassidy and Jennings both believe that even if there are weather-related concerns looming over games it does not affect their preparation going into those games, but it may affect their focus.

“You are always working to prepare for that day and you never know what will happen with the weather, so preparation is the same no matter what. You don’t really change preparation based on the weather,” Cassidy said.

“I think it can tend to affect the focus of the team a little bit,” Jennings added. “Everyone would rather be playing outside, so when you’re put inside, you kind of think ‘what are we doing here? We would rather be outside’ and mentally you kind of lose it a bit. We just need to stay locked in to reduce that lapse in focus.”

Speaking to the players it definitely hurt the team when such a big contest with the Eagles was postponed.

“Everyone was looking forward to (Wednesday’s) game because last week we didn’t have the result we wanted to,” Jennings said. “This game meant even more and everyone was excited and prepared for it, but we’ll have to make sure we stay sharp so we are ready for them when we play them next week.

The Minutemen will get back into conference play this weekend when they take on St. Bonaventure in Olean, New York. The first game of the three game series is Friday and starts at 3 p.m.

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

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