UMass baseball drops series to George Mason

Minutemen fall 11-2 Sunday


(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

By Ryan Ames, Assistant Sports Editor

The Massachusetts baseball team fell 11-2 to George Mason Sunday in Fairfax, Virginia, dropping the rubber match of the three-game series.

UMass (12-21, 5-13 Atlantic 10) surrendered seven runs to the Patriots (18-23, 9-6 A-10) in the bottom of the second, giving George Mason a comfortable cushion on the way to a blowout victory.

“We gave them a couple of free passes and they took advantage of it,” Minutemen coach Matt Reynolds said. “I thought we swung the bats pretty well, we just got to figure out what to do with guys in scoring position.”

Eleven baserunners were left on base for UMass in another example of the Minutemen struggling to get timely hitting.

“We just needed a big hit,” Reynolds said. “We had a couple of opportunities and it easily could’ve been a much closer game than it looked.”

First baseman Trevor Kelly drove in five runs for the Patriots on two doubles while right fielder Tyler Nelin finished with three RBIs.

Junior Alec Norton smacked three hits and drove in one run and sophomore Eddy Hart recorded the other RBI for UMass in a two-hit performance at Spuhler Field.

With the pair of base knocks, Hart continued his hit streak to eight games while boosting his batting average to .306.

“I’m more focused on the team, but Eddy’s been a mainstay for us,” Reynolds said. “He’s been our most consistent player and he’s a tremendous leader.”

Brooks Knapek started on the mound for the Minutemen but only lasted 1.2 innings, allowing all seven runs in George Mason’s second inning romp.

Ben Shields came on in relief and allowed just one run in 5.1 innings before Carter Knapek closed out the final inning for UMass.

Patriots starter Jared Dicesare threw seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on 10 hits and no walks while striking out four.

Fry’s solo homer lifts UMass

In the top of the fifth inning, Marcus Fry blasted a solo shot over the left field fence to give the Minutemen all the run support they would need Saturday.

A pitching duel between UMass starter Sean Harney and Patriots pitcher Bryce Nightengale was ultimately won by Harney in the second contest of the series.

Harney didn’t allow a run in 6.1 innings of work and struck out three batters in his second win of the season. Nightengale lasted eight innings, with the only run coming from Fry’s homer.

Late comeback not enough for Minutemen

Down 2-0 in the eighth inning, Andrew Noonan came in to pinch hit for Connor Smith and brought Brett Evangelista home on a RBI single to center field on Friday.

That’s all UMass could muster offensively as the Minutemen fell in the first game to George Mason, 2-1.

It was a tough night for UMass in the batter’s box as Hart came through with the only other hit for the Minutemen.

Justin Lasko threw his second straight complete game, giving up two runs on nine hits while also combining for six strikeouts and two walks.

A pair of home runs from George Mason third baseman Greg Popatak powered the Patriots in the series-opening victory.

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