Long ball powers UMass past George Washington Saturday

Eight extra-base hits for the Minutemen Saturday

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Long ball powers UMass past George Washington Saturday

By Noah Bortle, Collegian Staff

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A pair of home runs by Anthony Videtto and Connor Smith powered the Massachusetts baseball team to a win over Atlantic 10 foe George Washington.

UMass’ (10-16, 5-6 A-10) bats came alive Saturday afternoon, putting up 10 runs as part of a 10-4 win against the Patriots (20-15, 4-7 A-10).

In the first inning with two runners on, Anthony Videtto launched a ball deep down the left field line, watched it sail to the right of the foul pole, flipped his bat and rounded the bases to give the Minutemen an early 3-0 lead.

“I didn’t mean to pimp it at all,” Videtto said. “I was just looking to see if it was fair. Then I gave a little bat toss, but that was after the fact.”

Videtto successfully reached base in all five plate appearances Saturday. The first basemen went 3-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored.

The second UMass home run of the game came in the fifth inning with the Minutemen leading 4-2. With runners on second and third, Connor Smith drove a ball to the opposite field that landed over the 370-foot mark in right-center field.

“When they made a mistake with one, he knew it was coming,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “He sat right on it and did exactly what he’s taught. You got to give him a whole heck of a lot of credit.”

The home run came as part of a five-run fifth inning that stretched the UMass lead from 4-2 to 9-2 by the time it was over.

Coming into the game, the Minutemen had hit just eight home runs over their 25 games played, worst in the A-10. Two home runs Saturday put the season total into double-digits with 10.

“It feels great, we got some warm weather we’re playing in finally,” Reynolds said. “The wind isn’t blowing straight in from left field. It makes you feel better as a hitter if you can square one up, you can hit it over the fence.”

The two home runs were just part of an offensive attack for UMass that had eight extra-base hits, scoring double-digit runs for the second time in the past three games. Over those three games the Minutemen have scored 35 combined runs.

With an early lead, starting pitcher Jack Steele had more than enough run support. The freshman lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, three of them earned.

“[The run support] is pretty comfortable,” Steele said. “You don’t have to worry about each individual run, you can just focus on the hitter and not worry about what is behind you.”

The offensive output put an early end to George Washington pitcher Brady Renner’s day. The righthander lasted three innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits and two walks.

Ryan Lever delivered UMass’ only triple of the day, hitting a hard line drive to center field in the first inning. Patriots’ centerfielder Cade Fergus failed to come up with a diving attempt, letting the ball roll all the way to wall, and Lever cruised into third base.

Collin Shapiro hit the ball well, driving in two runs on four hits in five at-bats. The UMass leftfielder also scored two runs of his own Saturday afternoon.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.