Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Hitting woes continue for UMass baseball in 5-1 loss to Siena

Minutemen lose third straight

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(Caroline O'Connor/ Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/ Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/ Daily Collegian)

By Ryan Ames, Assistant Sports Editor

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The month of April has not been one to treasure for the Massachusetts baseball team.

Through 10 games so far, UMass has lost nine, with the only win coming last Friday in a 4-3 walk-off victory against Rhode Island.

Wednesday afternoon at Earl Lorden Field, the sour results continued for the Minutemen in their 5-1 loss to Siena.

Timely hitting plagued UMass (10-17, 3-9 Atlantic 10) as 11 batters were left on base, combined with a couple of errors on the defensive side, resulting in the Minutemen’s sixth defeat at home.

“Once again, we didn’t do enough to win,” UMass coach Matt Reynolds said. “We didn’t hit enough to win, we didn’t hit enough in clutch situations to win. It was a little bit of everything, again, we’ve fallen short I feel like in all aspects.”

Sophomore Nolan Kessinger was the only Minuteman batter to register multiple hits (two) in UMass’ slow afternoon in the batter’s box.

“Yeah, I think when you’re struggling it definitely…guys definitely start to put pressure on themselves when they’re not hitting well and it’s frustrating and it’s tough,” Reynolds said.

The Minutemen sprayed eight hits throughout the nine-inning affair and didn’t score their only run until the bottom of the eighth inning on a pinch-hit single from sophomore Marcus Fry. Junior Alec Norton began the inning with a leadoff double and Fry drove him in to score two batters later.

By that point the Saints (8-26, 6-6 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) were ahead 4-1 and tacked on another in the top of the ninth on senior Joe Drpich’s RBI double off the right field wall.

“One run on eight hits and we had chances, we had guys in scoring positions, we couldn’t get it done,” Reynolds said. “It’s tough. We’re in a funk right now and we’ve got to try and find a way to break out of it somehow.”

Freshman Sam Cooper took the mound for UMass and threw well in five innings, giving up only one earned run and four hits, along with no walks or strikeouts in his second career college start.

“I wouldn’t say I feel for him, he did put together a good start, I’m more concerned with us as a whole unit,” Reynolds said of Cooper. “I can’t really concern myself with that. There’s times where we don’t pitch well and our offense bails us out and there’s times we pitch the heck out of it and we can’t scrape across enough runs.”

Siena took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Drpich doubled down the right field line and scored junior Marcos Campos, who led off with a single. Junior Brian Kelley was next up for the Saints and hit a sacrifice fly to left field, bringing in senior Phil Madonna, who reached base on an error from Cooper following a sacrifice bunt attempt.

Siena doubled its score in the top of the eighth when Campos scored on a wild pitch from senior reliever Kevin Hassett and then Madonna scored after an error from Norton.

The Minutemen committed three errors Wednesday, with all of them directly or indirectly leading to runs for Siena.

UMass will try to halt its swoon this weekend when it hosts La Salle for a three-game series starting Friday at 3 p.m.

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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