Baseball notebook: UMass wins weekend series against Towson

The Minutemen won two of their three games against the Tigers

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Caitlin Mott / Daily Collegian

By James DiLuca and Michael Araujo

The Massachusetts baseball team showed resilience and won two games in a row after dropping the first to secure the series victory against Towson.

UMass scores three runs in the ninth inning on Sunday to beat the Tigers 5-4

The Tigers (8-16) opened up the scoring in game three of the three-game series, taking a one run lead over UMass (8-7-1) in the first inning. Drew DeMartino’s double in the third inning drove home two scores and would give UMass the advantage.

Towson went on to regain control with a three-run seventh inning, making the score 4-2. The Minutemen battled back in the top of the ninth inning, going on a three-run rally of their own before sealing the series with a game-ending double-play.

With runners on the corners and no outs, Steve Luttazi made a sacrifice bunt to bring home Will MacLean and advance Jacob Sloss to second. Tigers pitcher Jake Pecilunas hit back-to-back batters to load the bases for UMass. The following batter, Kevin Skagerlind, singled to the left side of the field on his first pitch, bringing home the tying run. Gervasi got out on a fly ball, and DeMartino stepped up to the plate with two outs and the opportunity to put the Minutemen on top for the second time in the game. With pressure mounting for both sides, DeMartino delivered, hitting a ground ball that found the gap between the third baseman and the shortstop that allowed pinch-runner Carter Hanson to score the game-winning run.

Daniel Livnat pitched six innings, allowing seven hits, one earned run, three walks and three strikeouts in 26 batters faced. Zach Clevenger was pulled after allowing three earned runs on three hits in the seventh inning. He also struck out one batter and walked two. With two outs, Jack Pawloski entered the game and got UMass out of a jam. He went on to get the win, allowing no hits during his tenure on the mound. Pawloski struck out two and walked one of the seven batters he faced.

The Minutemen edge out Towson on Saturday, winning 4-3

After giving up nine runs to Towson in Friday’s contest, UMass quieted the Tigers’ bats with stellar pitching from Kevin Dow and Tyler Dalton. Dow went five innings giving up three runs on six hits while striking out eight batters.

Dalton relieved Dow entering into the game in the bottom of the 6th inning and earned his first save of the year as he finished out the rest of the game, pitching four scoreless innings giving up just two hits and striking out four. Three of the four strikeouts came in the bottom of the 9th as Dalton retired the side.

Down 3-1 heading into the 6th inning, UMass took advantage of Nick Janowicz’s accuracy issues. Towson’s pitching staff walked 10 UMass batters and Janowicz was responsible for seven of them.

After the Tigers got two outs to start the inning Janowicz walked MacLean. Janowicz then had a pitch get away from him which allowed for MacLean to move to second base with an easy steal. Aidan Wilde then drew a walk from Janowicz which put men on first and second with two outs.

With Steve Luttazi at the plate, Janowicz’s inability to find the strike zone was on full display. Another wild pitch allowed for Wilde and MacLean to advance to second and third. Janowicz then hit Luttazi to load the bases.

Cam Clark entered the game for Janowicz but could not work out of the jam as he walked in a run and gave up an RBI single to Skagerlind which drove in two more.

In the top of the fourth DeMartino hit a solo shot to right field to knot the score at 1-1. That home run was DeMartino’s third of the season, tying him with Luttazi for the team lead. 

UMass’ late inning surge is not enough in Friday’s 9-7 loss

With Towson taking a 9-4 lead into the bottom of the 9th, the Minutemen’s chances of winning looked quite bleak. However, UMass made it a ballgame as it capitalized on a few Towson miscues in the final frame.

To start off the inning, MacLean reached first on a throwing error by Towson’s shortstop Danny Becerra, and Chris Pearsons hit a ball up the middle for a base hit. With runners on first and second with no outs, the Minutemen were in a prime position to score. A sacrifice fly by Skagerlind allowed for MacLean to tag up and reach third.

Gervasi then grounded out to second, but Maclean was able to make it home, making the score 9-5 with two outs. Towson’s reliever Nolan Bolt needed one more out to close out the game but couldn’t get it as he walked DeMartino and then gave up a double to Dylan Judd which drove in two runs.

After Judd’s RBI double, Towson decided to make a pitching change as closer Pecilunas was brought in to get the final out, which he did.

UMass fell into a hole early as starter Jack Steele only lasted two thirds of an inning, giving up four runs, three walks and two hits. Southpaw Zach Given stepped in for Steele and had a solid outing, giving up three runs on four hits through five innings.

The only time the Minutemen led in Friday’s game was at the top of the first inning when a Gervasi RBI single gave UMass a short-lived 1-0 lead.

The Minutemen will travel to New York to take on Albany on March 29 at 3 p.m.

Michael Araujo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Araujo_Michael_. James DiLuca can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @DilucaJames.