UMass shuts out George Washington behind right arm of Justin Lasko

Lasko throws complete game shutout in 8-0 win

By Ethan Nash, Collegian Staff

Senior right-hander Justin Lasko twirled a complete game shutout for the Massachusetts baseball team Saturday afternoon as the Minutemen took down George Washington 8-0.

Lasko finished the day with seven strikeouts, one walk, four hits and 96 pitches, an outing that improved his record on the year to 2-3.

“I think I just mixed my pitches better today,” Lasko said. “I was able to throw a bunch of pitches for strikes and I was able to locate when I didn’t want them for strikes which was good, so I got the big outs when I needed them and let the guys make the plays when I knew I had to do that.

“I got ahead of guys early which is what I needed to do, pitched to contact mostly, and just had my stuff working. I was able to get in and out of some quick innings and [the coaches] let me go longer in the game. “

Lasko got into a jam in the top of the eighth when the Colonials (20-14, 4-6 Atlantic 10) loaded up the bases with one out. He got the next two batters to strike out and ground out, respectively, to preserve the shutout.

Head coach Matt Reynolds praised Lasko for his ability to use all four of his pitches.

“For [Lasko], that was probably the best slider I’ve seen out of him, I thought he did a great job with that,” Reynolds said. “I thought he attacked the zone all day long. He had all four pitches going and was able to command both sides of the plate, keep the ball down for the most part. He was just really on.”

The game was a pitcher’s duel until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Minutemen (9-16, 4-6 Atlantic 10) plated a whopping eight runs.

Junior right fielder Nolan Kessinger opened up the scoring on a two-RBI single up the middle. Then, after three more runs came home on a walk and two wild pitches, sophomore catcher Connor Smith drove in two more on a bloop single to left field to make it 7-0.

Senior designated hitter Logan Greene had a strong game for the Minutemen as he tallied three hits on the day. Despite his offensive production, Greene was quick to mention Lasko’s dominance.

“Lasko’s been excellent for us all year,” said Greene. “I mean every time he goes out there we know we’re going to get a shot to win the game, and this is him being the ace of this club that we need him to be.”

The win marked Lasko’s second complete game shutout of the season, although Reynolds said Saturday afternoon was Lasko’s best pitching performance of the season.

“He’s been good all year, but that was kind of another level there, where that was not just the best performance, but that was the best command he’s had all year of multiple pitches,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully he’s figured something out there and we’d like to see that guy out on the mound every Friday for us.”

First pitch for game two of the three game series between the Minutemen and Colonials is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Earl Lorden Field.

Ethan Nash can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @ethan_nash15.