Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass walks off vs. La Salle Friday

Alec Norton’s walk-off single powers Minutemen past Explorers

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(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

By Zander Manning, Collegian Staff

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Coming into the bottom of the ninth inning the Massachusetts baseball team was tied at two runs apiece with La Salle. Sophomore Eddy Hart led the inning off with a walk and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Connor Smith.

Alec Norton followed and quickly got ahead with a two ball, no strike count. Norton took the next pitch he saw and singled it past Explorers third baseman Peyton Sorrels, scoring Hart from second and giving UMass a 3-2 victory Friday afternoon.

“I was up 2-0 and I was just looking for something I could drive, something I could barrel up, find a hole and it worked out,” Norton said.

Minutemen coach Matt Reynolds was pleased with the way the game ended after he saw his squad drop eight of its last 10.

“Well, it’s good to get a (win), of course,” Reynolds said. “We certainly could have done a lot more, but I’m hoping at least that getting a win will free us up a little bit. We’ve been playing a little tight the last few weeks where wins were really hard to come by, I’m hoping just getting on the right side of one will help us loosen up a bit.”

In the third inning, La Salle (11-25, 2-8 Atlantic-10) scored two runs courtesy of a single by Brian Dudeck and an RBI groundout by Ryan Guckin.

UMass (11-17, 4-9 A-10), however, came right back and tied it up on an RBI single by junior Logan Greene that scored senior Keith Linnane and a sacrifice fly by sophomore Justin Voghel that scored Hart from third.

“I was just trying to put it in play,” Greene said. “Two outs, guys in scoring position. We haven’t been producing a lot, I just tried to put it in play and see if good things could happen.”

Greene finished the game with the most hits for the Minutemen, going 2-for-4 with one RBI, pushing his total to 11 on the season.

Greene made solid contact each time he was up, whether it was his two singles, a ground ball that nearly made it into center field or a fly out to deep center field that got knocked down by wind.

“Yeah we’re just trying to find something that works for us,” Reynolds said. “He’s been swinging the bat well recently, so we wanted to move him up a little bit, give him some more at-bats and kind of change it up a little bit.”

UMass junior pitcher Justin Lasko who threw a complete game, while allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits with five strikeouts and only two walks.

Reynolds was impressed with his performance to say the least.

“Biggest take away was Lasko was awesome, you can’t ask much more than that,” Reynolds said. “He gave us nine strong and not that I really care about these things for the most part, but I’m happy we got him the win because he was done there… I’m just happy we got him the win because he deserved it.”

There was some speculation as to if Lasko was going to come out for the ninth inning on Friday due to his high pitch count, but Reynolds said that he did not consult with pitching coach Nate Cole and sent the junior out to the mound.

With the victory, Lasko improves to 3-2 and his ERA drops to 2.98.

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

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