Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball takes series behind two straight wins over George Washington

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Baseball practice on Garber Field Feb. 17. (Jessica Picard/Daily Collegian)

Confidence and positivity has been the message to the Massachusetts baseball team from the start of the season and their weekend against George Washington was no different.

Coming into their road series losing three straight games, the Minutemen needed a successful series. Despite an eight run beat down Friday, UMass (6-9, 2-1 Atlantic 10) came away with two straight wins to take the series against their A-10 rival.

“The fact that we bounced back from a tough beating Friday and had a great response Saturday meant a lot for our club,” coach Mike Stone said. “It was a matter of hanging in there, being positive and moving on. I feel like we did that and came away with solid results.”

The top of the order once again set the tone. The top five in the lineup combined for 13 hits, six runs batted in and six runs in the three games. Stone likes what he is getting from the top of the order and that the reason they continue to stay with them is because of their on-base skills and clutch hitting.

The Minutemen trailed 1-0 entering the sixth inning of Sunday’s game. Dylan Morris led the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt one batter later. A hit by pitch and a walk loaded up the bases for Brett Evangelista. A sacrifice fly scored Morris and UMass took the lead after two straight walks.

“[Getting Morris back] solidifies center field for us,” Stone said. “He is hitting in the seven spot which means people above him have been performing. He lengthens the lineup and has been solid so far.”

However, the lead was short-lived as Minutemen pitcher Mike Geannelis gave up an RBI single to even the score at two. UMass would put two more runs on the board in the seventh behind some defensive miscues from the Colonials (10-13, 1-2 A-10).

The ninth inning would prove crucial for UMass as they added six runs to increase their lead to seven. Ryan Lever had a bases loaded single followed up by a two-run single from freshman Nolan Kessinger. GW’s second error of the inning scored two more Minutemen and Matt Bare finished off the scoring with an RBI single as UMass went on to win 10-4.

Geannelis won his second game of the season as he went 6.1 innings and gave up four runs on 10 hits. The bullpen for UMass was exceptional yet again. Sophomore Justin Lasko threw 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He also did not surrender a hit. Freshman Christian Rosati gave up one run in the ninth but closed the door for UMass.

“It’s exactly what we need if we want to be a winning ball club,” Stone said. “It’s extremely important for us to have guys who we can rely on [coming out of the bullpen].”

Strong pitching performance leads UMass to close win Saturday

Brooks Knapek gave up one run in seven innings as the Minutemen went on to win the second game of the series 2-1.

The freshman pitcher battled throughout the day as he walked five and gave up seven hits. However, his six strikeouts proved to be the difference in the end as he improved his record to 2-1.

“He threw strikes, had tremendous poise and confidence and executed pitches,” Stone said. “It was a gutsy performance and exactly what we needed.”

Freshman  Kessinger and sophomore Alec Norton each had a RBI single to give the Minutemen their lone two runs.

UMass beat down 10-2 in series opener

The Minutemen lost their fourth straight game Friday with its 10-2 loss to the Colonials.

Justin Lasko lasted only two innings as he gave up seven runs (five earned) on his way to his second loss of the season. Carter Knapek gave up three runs in four innings of relief.

Colonials starter Brady Renner pitched seven innings giving up only one run.

Tyler Fiedler can be reached via email [email protected] or followed on Twitter @Tyler_Fiedler.

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