Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Snow puts question mark on UMass’ weekend series with Central Connecticut

Minutemen originally scheduled for three games with Blue Devils

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(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

By Mollie Walker, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts baseball team prepares to travel to New Britain, Conn. for what was supposed to be back-to-back contests before roughly nine inches of snow disrupted the schedule, against Central Connecticut this upcoming weekend.

The series was scheduled to have one game on Friday at 3 p.m. and a double-header Saturday with games starting at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. A snow-covered turf field at the Blue Devils’ (2-4) home field cancelled play on Friday and put a to-be-determined stamp on Saturday’s slate.

UMass (1-3) could play back-to-back Saturday or split a game each on Saturday and Sunday. Two games on Sunday is not an option with the Minutemen’s flight to Florida for the Sunshine State Classic.

“We kind of have a general sense of what (Connecticut) does and how they recruit. They’ve always been a solid program,” UMass coach Matt Reynolds said of the Blue Devils. “They always seem to have a good offense, that seems to be stable so I guess it depends on which way the wind is blowing at Central Connecticut, which it’s always blowing.”

The Minutemen are coming off a 10-5 loss to Pittsburgh after dropping their season opener to the Panthers, 2-3, on March 2. UMass bounced back to defeat Saint Peter’s 13-5 Saturday afternoon before getting blanked 9-0 that evening by Pittsburgh.

“We can definitely be better,” Reynolds said. “We didn’t play horribly but we certainly didn’t play anywhere near our capabilities and we certainly didn’t play up to a level that is going to result in the type of success that we want to have this year.

“Pitt is an outstanding team, we took care of business against St. Peters, we really got the offense going so that was good. (We) jumped out on them right away which we really needed to do.”

The first-year head coach thinks UMass needs to display a cleaner performance to achieve the success they are striving for and he hopes it starts this weekend.

“Those are the things that are frustrating and that we need to get better at,” Reynolds said. “As we go along I think the team is well aware of that, I feel they would say the same thing.”

Nolan Kessinger posted an impressive start to the season with six hits for four RBIs. Cooper Mrowka and Ryan Lever are right behind with five hits each.

Mrowka took note to the fact that last weekend was the first time UMass had taken the field since they began practicing, justifying the slow start against Pittsburgh. Most other collegiate teams are much deeper into the start of their season compared to the Minutemen.

Pittsburgh had nine games under their belt before facing UMass and Central Connecticut has already played in six.

“I don’t want to use the word disadvantage because it is what is, we can’t change that now,” Mrowka said. “It’s definitely something we have to use as a chip on our shoulder, they’ve been playing while we’ve been in Boyden practicing.

“With that being said we can’t just use that as an excuse, we just have to go get after it and play well no matter what.”

The Blue Devils have made a more significant dent into their schedule having already played two three-game series against North Dakota St. and Furman. Connecticut lost both series, only winning once each time, with both wins occurring in the middle match.

The first official home game for Connecticut was scheduled for March 7 but the harsh weather cancelled that one as well.

“I’ve played against Central Connecticut my whole career and it’s always been a very competitive game,” Reynolds said. “Coach (Charlie) Hickey does a great job and always rolls out a quality program every year so it’ll be a challenge for us and we’ll see how many games we get in, if any. We’ll be ready.”

Through six games the Blue Devils have accumulated 54 hits, including six doubles, one triple and three home runs. Connecticut has stolen five bases and batted 27 runs in.

Catcher Nick Garland has six hits so far this season including two home runs and four RBIs. Buddy Dewaine follows with four hits including a double and triple as well as one home run for five RBI’s.

“This week will be a great opportunity for us to kind of spend the whole week together away from campus, away from school, and just play a lot of baseball and clean things up,” Reynolds said. “I’m hoping when we come back a week from now we’re going to be a different team.”

 

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MWalker2019.

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