Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass drops series 2-1 with St. Bonaventure

Minutemen fall 7-5 to Bonnies in series-deciding game three

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(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

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The Massachusetts baseball team dropped the final contest of a three-game series with St. Bonaventure, 7-5, Sunday afternoon at Earl Lorde Field. The Bonnies took the weekend series 2-1 and proved to be the second Atlantic 10 opponent to take a series with the Minutemen.

“We did not hit well enough, [we] did not play defense well enough when it counted and especially in big spots,” UMass coach Matt Reynolds said. “We were very bad in big spots, both offensively and defensively.”

The Bonnies (6-14, 2-4 A-10) plated six runs through four hits in the top of the sixth to take a 7-3 lead that would be too much for UMass to bounce back from despite a two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth.

After such an offensive stretch from St. Bonaventure, Reynolds felt the UMass (9-8, 2-4 A-10) offensive efforts dwindle.

“It’s tough because a lot of your offense kind of goes away a little bit when you’re trying to come back from multiple runs,” Reynolds said. “It’s a little bit more difficult to steal bases, you can’t sacrifice, so you got to kind of rely on stringing a bunch of hits together which we weren’t on the ball very well today.

“It makes it hard to have a big inning which we needed to have to get back in so that was it, we need to be able to regroup and show a little bit more from the offensive and defensive side.”

Ryan Lever and Nolan Kessinger led the Minutemen with two hits each while Lever and Eddy Hart each registered two runs. Kessinger led with two RBIs as well.

The bottom of the eighth saw two quick strikeouts from Bonnies pitcher James Wetter that put the Minutemen on their heels with the final inning approaching. Hart was walked before Lever singled through second to put runners on first and second base for Kessinger.

The lefty singled up the middle to drive Hart home before Lever claimed another on a wild pitch to close it to 7-5. Mrowka struck out swinging, stranding one runner on base to end a valiant, last-minute effort by the Minutemen that fell just short before a scoreless ninth inning.

“I thought we definitely could’ve played better,” Hart said. “I thought we were a better team than what we showed today and the result was what we put on the field.”

Hart jumpstarted the Minutemen in the bottom of the third on a line drive over the pitcher’s head for a base hit. Lever was walked before Kessinger knocked one through the right side for a single that drove in Hart to make it 1-0 and advance Lever into scoring position.

Mrowka then sent a grounder through the shortstop to bring home Lever and advance Kessinger to second. Smith grounded out to second base but advanced both runners before Greene was walked to load the bases for Justin Voghel. The left fielder’s pop out left three of the eventual 12 total runners left on base throughout the day.

“There were multiple times you could point to where we didn’t make a play defensively where we needed to in order to preserve the game or we didn’t capitalize with guys in scoring position,” Reynolds said.

The Bonnies managed to plate one in the top of the fourth to cut the UMass lead in half, but the Minutemen escaped the inning with two potential runs on base. Leading off in the bottom of the fourth, Marcus Fry knocked one out of the park to regain the two-run lead 3-1.

Kevin Hassett was hooked with the loss after giving up six runs, walking two and striking out five. His record fell to 0-3 in the loss as Roman Wild picked up his first win this season while pitching for the Bonnies.

“Hopefully the guys realize that we can’t play like this and win,” Reynolds said. “It has nothing to do with who we are playing against or how they played necessarily, it has to do with how we played. I wish we could control that a little better and we’re going to have to if we want to get back on a winning streak here.”

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

 

 

 

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