Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass baseball crushes St. Louis 17-8 for series victory

Minutemen record season-high in runs and hits Sunday
(Simon Nathans/ Daily Collegian)

A season high in both hits and runs for the Massachusetts baseball team resulted in a 17-8 victory over Saint Louis on Sunday.

A three-run home run by Collin Shapiro in the bottom of the third inning gave the Minutemen (8-16, 3-6 Atlantic 10) a 9-0 lead over the Billikens (12-18, 2-4 A-10).

The homer was the first of Shapiro’s career. The redshirt freshman went 4-for-6 on the day with six runs batted in, finishing a triple short of the cycle.

“You can’t say enough good things about the offense,” coach Matt Reynolds said. “Shapiro is obviously red-hot right now, and he was fantastic again.”

With the win, UMass clinched its first series win over St. Louis since 2014.

Sean Harney got the ball on the hill for the Minutemen. The sophomore gave up four runs on five hits across five innings of work. Holding the Billikens to four runs on Sunday was more than enough for the UMass offense. Harney exited the game with a 9-4 advantage.

“Even though I don’t think I had my best stuff today,” Harney said, “my offense was able to grind it out for me and it gave me a lot of confidence. It was great.”

The Minutemen’s bats weren’t done, scoring eight more runs, including a five-run sixth inning.

“First three innings Harney was great on the mound, no runs,” Shapiro said. “And then we just kept putting on the runs, which is something we had been struggling to do in the past.”

After a scoreless top half to the first inning, UMass quickly took a 2-0 lead thanks to a deep two-run home run over the left field bushes off the bat of Anthony Videtto.

“Tony got us going with a two-run home run,” Shapiro said. “I think that really set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Luke Oliphant reached base four times on the afternoon. The center fielder went two for four with a walk and a hit by pitch. In the sixth inning, the sophomore sent a bunt down the first base line, reaching first by diving out of reach of the tag.

With a 15-8 lead in the seventh inning, closer Casey Aubin came into the game having not seen action yet that weekend. Aubin pitched a shutout seventh inning before allowing three runs in the eighth.

In the top of the fifth, Billiken designated hitter Ben Livorsi drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center field to cut the UMass lead to 9-4.

After another Minuteman run in the bottom half of the frame, St. Louis answered on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth. 10-5 was as close as the Billikens would come the rest of the way.

Holding the nine-run lead going into the ninth inning, freshman Tucker Wittman came on to shut the door. The lefty retired the three men in order, striking out two.

The St. Louis pitching staff had been one of the most successful in the A-10 coming into Sunday’s contest. Their 3.75 ERA was good enough for third in the conference.

“To take two out of three from a really good program and the defending champions feels good,” Reynolds said.

UMass takes the field next Tuesday when it takes on Northeastern at home. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Earl Lorden Field.

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

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