Gregoire and Katz: Takeaways from UMass’ opening series against Georgetown

The Minutemen walk away with one win in three game series

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Kago Motsoma / Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire and Judah Katz

The Massachusetts baseball team showed promise in its opening series against Georgetown, but a resilient Hoyas (7-4) team got the best of the Minutemen (1-2) in the last two games of the series.

 

Offensive upsides

After the first series of the 2022 season, the Minutemen have started off showing promise through their power numbers, tallying six doubles and five home runs over the three-game stretch against Georgetown. This increase in power is a welcome trend for the Minutemen, who finished the 2021 season with a .321 slugging percentage.

The offense was a bright spot for the Minutemen in their series against the Hoyas. The offense scored a total of 24 runs in their three games, out-scoring the Hoyas who had 22 runs. Many of these runs came from productive innings from UMass.

On Friday, the Minutemen scored a majority of their runs in just the eighth inning of the contest, with seven of their nine total runs coming from that rally. Then, on Saturday, despite UMass not being able to make a comeback, the Minutemen started the seventh inning with just one run on the board and ended the game with eight.

First baseman Steve Luttazi started off the weekend series on a tear. In his first at-bat, Luttazi hit a two-run homer to right field to open the scoring for the season, breaking the tie. Later on in the eighth inning, he hit his first career grand slam to put the Minutemen up nine runs on the Hoyas. Luttazi ended the day with six RBIs.

Going into this season, senior Aidan Wilde has proven to be a large factor in the Minutemen’s offense, though in the series the third baseman went 0-for-8. Last year, Wilde finished the 2021 season with a .261 batting average and 16 runs batted in. UMass plays Northeastern on Tuesday, and Wilde will look to get back on track in that contest.

 

Player spotlight: Nolan Tichy

The player that made the most impact on the series was sophomore Nolan Tichy. The left fielder did not make an appearance in their first outing or start the second game of the series, but Tichy came into the game on Saturday as a pinch hitter. He replaced Collin Shapiro in the seventh inning and had a total of two at-bats in the game. In his two late-game plate appearances, Tichy singled to left field in the seventh inning and doubled to right center field in the ninth inning.

The most memorable moment for Tichy came on Sunday afternoon, when the Minutemen were trying to chip away at Georgetown pitcher Kyle Salley. Tichy came up to bat with one man on base. With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, he hit a home run to right field to cut the deficit to one run. In his next two at-bats, Tichy hit two singles and finished the series with a perfect batting average.

In his freshman season, Tichy had 45 at-bats, with a total of six hits. The left fielder is already catching up to his freshman year totals with five hits in just two games. He leads the Minutemen roster in hits coming out of the series against the Hoyas.

 

Early season pitching struggles

Senior southpaw Kevin Dow showed signs of effectiveness in his outing on Friday, going four innings with three strikeouts and no earned runs. Junior lefty Daniel Livnat gave a solid effort heading into a five-run lead, holding the Hoyas at bay for the next four innings, striking out three batters and only allowing two earned runs.

Aside from these solid performances, the Minutemen’s rotation surrendered over seven runs per game during the Georgetown series. Senior Jack Steele struggled in his season debut, allowing eight earned runs on eight hits through two innings pitched. Junior Zach Given had a hard time remaining effective in his start on Sunday, allowing five runs on five hits, including two home runs in his only two innings of work.

The Minutemen will travel to Boston to take on Northeastern on March 3. First pitch will be at 3 p.m.

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.

Judah Katz can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @judah_katz.