Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball goes 1-3 to open season

Matt Reynolds collects first win with UMass

Caroline O'Connor

Caroline O'Connor

By Zander Manning, Collegain Staff

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Ten months after he was officially hired as the head coach of the Massachusetts baseball team, Matt Reynolds gave the umpires at Osceola County Field his lineup for the first time in a game vs. Pittsburgh.

The Minutemen played four games on the weekend, three against Pittsburgh and one against Saint Peter’s. They were able to collect a win against the Peacocks, but fell to the Panthers in each game.

Despite being outscored 27-20 on the weekend, Reynolds said that the weekend was not a negative one and was a learning opportunity for all of those involved.

“We did everything we could,” Reynolds said. “We’re where we wanted to be. A win’s a win, but we know the drill. This is going to be a work in progress, we prepared. There are guys who know that its going to be a work in progress. Good to start the process and get out of gym and on some the grass.” 

On Sunday against Pitt, UMass got started in top of the first inning when junior Logan Greene walked with the bases loaded, scoring sophomore Eddy Hart from third to give the Minutemen a 1-0 lead.

That would be their only lead, however, as the Panthers (9-2) took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning.

The first two came on a two-run single by senior Nick Banman that scored sophomore Alex Amos and redshirt sophomore David Yanni and the third on a single by redshirt sophomore Frank Maldonado that scored redshirt junior Liam Sabino.

In the bottom of the ninth, with UMass trailing 10-3 and with the bases loaded, sophomore Nolan Kessinger stepped up and singled to right field, scoring Thomas Pipolo from third.

Junior Cooper Mrowka followed with a walk, scoring senior Brett Evangelista from third, making it 10-5.

In the third game of the weekend set, the Minutemen were shut out by Pitt 9-0.

Sophomore Brooks Knapek went three innings, allowing four runs on four hits with four strikeouts and four walks. On defense, however, the Minutemen committed five errors.

“We cannot afford to give extra outs to the other team,” Reynolds said. “We gave up so many free bases-—errors, walks, hit by pitches. I’m trying to make a point of if we’re going to win, we have to give the other team the 27 outs the game gives them, we can’t give them 35 outs.”

Freshman Sean Harney had the best showing on the mound for the Minutemen in that game, going three innings and allowing an unearned run while walking five and striking out three.

Earlier in the day before playing Pitt again, UMass defeated Saint Peters for its first victory of the season.

The Minutemen got started early and never looked back, jumping to an early 8-0 lead after just three innings.

Kessinger started it off with a three-run triple in the first inning that scored Mrowka, junior Ryan Lever and Hart, making it 3-0. Sophomore Marcus Fry followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Kessinger, making it 4-0.

Lever made it 5-0 in the second inning, driving home Pipolo on an RBI single, and Mrowka made it 6-0 when also hit an RBI single, scoring freshman Frank Diorio from third.

Reynolds called the game vs. the Peacocks an anomaly considering how everything seemed to click on all ends of the ball. The Minutemen finished the game with 13 runs on 16 hits and committed zero errors. Every starter in the UMass lineup had at least one hit.

In the first game of the weekend against the Panthers, the Minutemen played a close game.

In the top of the ninth trailing 2-1, freshman Luke Oliphant scored on a passed ball to tie the game at two apiece. However, in the bottom half, Pittsburgh freshman Ron Washington Jr. doubled home sophomore Nico Popa to give the Panthers a slim 3-2 victory.

Justin Lasko got the start for UMass and impressed. The junior went five and one-third innings, allowing one run while striking out three on 88 pitches. Lasko’s classmate Casey Aubin also pitched well in relief, going one and two-thirds innings, allowing no base runners and striking out a pair.

In their next matchup, the Minutemen travel to New Britain, Connecticut, to take on Central Connecticut State University on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Zander Manning can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ZMSportsReport.

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