Mike Gervasi shines, but is unable to tie the game in the bottom ninth

Gervasi went 3/5 with 3 RBI’s


Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Joey Aliberti, Assistant Sports Editor

With a 2-2 count in the bottom of the ninth, Mike Gervasi was the perfect man to have at the plate for this Wednesday afternoon game for the Massachusetts baseball team.

Not only did Gervasi have a hit in three of his four at bats on the day, but he also came into Wednesday night’s contest against Holy Cross leading the team in batting average (.286).

Before a three-game series against Northeastern on March 26 and 27, Gervasi was hitting .325, but a 1-9 slump against the Huskies brought that average far below what he is accustomed to seeing in the stat sheets.

“It was good to just start piecing some things together, go back to the basics,” Gervasi said. “After a weekend like that where you face some really good pitching, but I just tried to stay in my head and keep everything simple.”

On the fifth pitch of the at bat, Gervasi stared at Alex Bryant’s pitch as it glided over home plate for the third strike, giving him his sixth strikeout in only 13 batters faced, ending the tightly contested 7-6 game.

“I was just trying to put something in the gap,” Gervasi said. “They had a good guy on the mound, he got the best of me on that pitch with a breaking ball.”

Gervasi was a large part of the four-run third inning for UMass (7-9), adding a two-RBI double off of a missed catch from a Crusaders (1-7, 0-5 Patriot League) outfielder. He added his third RBI of the game off a fielder’s choice single, allowing fifth year senior Eddy Hart to score, tying the game at five apiece.

“I think that there’s still more in there,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “…But, he was statistically the leader for us… certainly can’t complain about that… He’s been a huge part of our offense being able to put him in the four-hole he’s earned every bit of that. He’s worked his way from the ground up into that spot.”

Gervasi also filled in as catcher Wednesday afternoon as Dylan Judd took over designated hitter, where Gervasi is usually placed. Gervasi only allowed one passed ball against Holy Cross. Gervasi has a .968 fielding percentage on the season as a catcher, committing only two errors. Judd — the starting catcher — has a fielding percentage of .938 with five errors. Though the inferior statistics could be due to higher usage from Judd.

“I can’t stress how important he is just because Dylan [Judd] is catching the majority of the games but he can’t go out there for 48 games, he just can’t do that,” Reynolds said. “Mike has been able to do a great job in the DH role and solidify that, which was a big question mark going into the season and has been able to be really solid as a number two catcher… there’s really no difference between the two of them in my mind right now.”

Still labeled as a freshman due to COVID-19 rules allowing an extra year of eligibility, Gervasi has seen a years worth of development while being allowed three more to continue and grow his game. Gervasi did not make a single appearance at designated hitter or behind the plate last year, along with zero at-bats.

“My catching has improved the most,” Gervasi said. “That was something I wanted to work on a lot and I know they wanted me to do. I think COVID was good for that, just gave me a lot of time to work on some little things.”

“He’s come a long way in a year,” Reynolds said. “…It was everything. He’s grown tremendously as a catcher, his arms gotten better, much better receiver, better blocker, he’s always had a great work ethic and he works as hard as anybody and is as tough as anybody. Offensively, he’s calmed down his approach even though it has a long way to go still. He was kind of heavy on his front side and really anxious and over-aggressive and he’s been able to make strides in that regard.”

Gervasi and the Minutemen head to Storrs, Conn. this weekend for a three-game series against UConn. First pitch on Friday is at 4 p.m.

Joey Aliberti can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JosephAliberti1.