Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass wins weekend series with 5-2 win over La Salle

Explorers drops 12th conference game of the season

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UMass wins weekend series with 5-2 win over La Salle

(Parker Peters/Daily Collegian)

(Parker Peters/Daily Collegian)

(Parker Peters/Daily Collegian)

(Parker Peters/Daily Collegian)

By Noah Bortle, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts baseball team won the rubber match of their series against La Salle with a 5-2 victory on Sunday.

The win came thanks to a four-run second inning for the Minutemen (16-20, 7-8 A-10) which featured a Luke Oliphant sacrifice fly followed later in the inning by a three-RBI, bases-clearing double by Eddy Hart.

The four-run cushion was more than enough for UMass starter Sean Harney. The sophomore right-hander pitched seven innings against the Explorers (22-23, 3-12 A-10). Harney struggled to find the strike zone but still managed to limit La Salle to two runs on four hits and six walks.

“Harney was Sean Harney again today,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “He didn’t have great fastball command, didn’t have great changeup command, but once again, I looked up and it was deep into the game and they didn’t have many runs on the board.”

To close out his outing, Harney faced Peyton Sorrels, La Salle’s best hitter, with the bases loaded. The Explorers second baseman battled through a 12-pitch at bat, ending in a blooped fly ball to left-center field. UMass left fielder Collin Shapiro dove to record the out before getting up and firing the ball to second base and end the inning and preserve UMass’ two-run lead.

“That was the game changer right there,” Reynolds said. “That was the one real spotlight play. He was on his probably 105th or 106th pitch coming into that at bat.”

Freshman Kevin Dow came in to finish the game in the eighth inning. The freshman pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two to record the first save of his career.

UMass added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning to push their lead to 5-2. With runners on first and third, catcher Connor Smith singled to center field, scoring Anthony Videtto from third.

The Minutemen improved to 12-5 in their last 17 games. During that stretch Sean Harney has gone 3-1 with the help of Collin Shapiro and Anthony Videtto’s bats who are batting .400 and .349 respectively during that stretch.

The win on Sunday marked the Minutemen’s 16th of the season, surpassing their win total from a season ago with 11 regular season games still remaining.

UMass scores eight unanswered runs to beat La Salle

After falling behind 6-1 early in the contest, UMass put up eight runs from the fifth inning onward to beat La Salle 9-6 in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

“I think that we’ve learned to be able to put some things behind us,” Reynolds said, “and not carry things with us into the next game- good or bad.”

Trailing 6-1 in the fifth inning, the Minutemen loaded the bases for first baseman Anthony Videtto. The sophomore proceeded to hit a grand slam over the right field fence to cut the Explorers’ lead to one run.

The big fifth inning came right on the heels of a five-run bottom of the fourth for La Salle. Three of the Explorers’ runs were unearned thanks to an error and a wild pitch in the inning.

UMass starter Jack Steele lasted just three and two-third innings, surrendering six runs, only three being earned, on three walks and three hits. Brad Collins came in for Steele to put an end to the fifth inning which he did, picking Peyton Sorrels off first base to stop the scoring.

The Minutemen tied the game in the sixth inning on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch which brought home Dylan Judd. The next batter Nolan Kessinger hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Luke Oliphant and give UMass the lead.

The Minutemen wouldn’t give the lead back, scoring once more in the sixth and again in the eighth to down the Explorers and bounce back from a game one loss.

Minutemen drop game one 6-5

Despite a comeback attempt in the eighth inning, UMass came up just short of a weekend-opening win against La Salle.

Down 6-4 heading into the eighth inning, the Minutemen brought seven batters to the plate, managing to plate just one run, stranding the bases loaded.

UMass ace Justin Lasko did not have his best stuff on the mound, allowing six earned runs on nine hits and a walk. The senior was still able to battle through six and two-thirds innings of work, striking out seven Explorers hitters.

Logan Greene returned from a leg injury to DH for the Minutemen on Saturday. The senior launched a two-run home run to right-center field to open the scoring for UMass in the fourth inning.

The Minutemen added a run in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at four before a two-run seventh for La Salle gave them a lead they wouldn’t give back.

“La Salle is a really good team offensively,” Reynolds said. “They have a couple guys at the top who can really hurt you. One through five or six are all really tough outs.”

The win by the Explorers marked just their third conference victory of the season.

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

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