Baseball notebook: Minutemen drop weekend series against URI

UMass struggles to find a rhythm against the Rams

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Maya Geer/ Daily Collegian

By Judah Katz, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts baseball team struggled to gain momentum in a series loss against Rhode Island over the weekend. After an impressive effort by senior southpaw Kevin Dow on Friday, UMass (16-12-1) dropped the final two games against the Rams (10-25).

Game one of the series saw UMass put on an offensive clinic, something that has carried the Minutemen throughout the course of the season. They scored six runs on 13 hits, including four doubles and a home run.

The contest saw some impressive offensive performances from key members of the Minutemen offense. Sophomore Kevin Skagerlind had three hits, with a run scored. Graduate student Drew DeMartino had three hits, including two doubles and two runs scored. Freshman Will MacLean had an impressive day, tallying two hits and two walks, including a moon shot to right center field. UMass would go on to win the game 6-4.

The standout of Friday’s game, however, was the performance by the Minutemen’s starter. Kevin Dow went six innings, giving up only three runs on six hits, adding three strikeouts.

Zach Clevenger earned a save for his follow-up performance, allowing just one run on two hits, with four strikeouts in three innings. In a season riddled with pitching struggles, the Massachusetts staff shut down a potent offense in Rhode Island, that had just come off a 27-1 blowout win against Holy Cross earlier in the week.

The rest of the series in South Kingstown proved to be atypical for the perpetually potent Minutemen offense. Game two of the series was less successful for the Massachusetts pitching staff, which gave up eight runs on 10 hits, and six walks. URI left fielder Eric Genther had a monster afternoon, hitting two home runs with five RBIs.

Rhode Island leadoff hitter Jordan Laske shone brightly, tallying three hits with two RBIs and a walk. UMass’ pitching struggled to find a consistent rhythm, and Rams hitters jumped on the mistakes early, scoring three runs in back-to-back innings to start the game. Rhode Island didn’t add much support to their run total for the rest of the afternoon, but UMass couldn’t seem to string together enough hits to get back into contention. The Rams would go on to win the game 8-5.

Game three of the series didn’t turn out any better for the Minutemen. The Rhode Island pitching staff silenced UMass’ hitters, shutting them out to conclude the weekend. Rams starter Trystan Levesque picked up the win, tossing six scoreless innings, with three strikeouts. Zach Fernandez finished off the afternoon with a save, going three innings with no hits and four strikeouts.

The afternoon wasn’t a total letdown for the Massachusetts team, however. Even in a loss, UMass starter Zack Given tossed six innings, allowing only one run on four hits.

More than halfway through the 2022 season, UMass is four games above .500. This is the most consistently productive offense the program has produced in recent memory. As they continue into the second half of the season, the Minutemen will look to maintain their offensive prowess, and improve upon their pitching numbers.

UMass heads to Storrs to take on Connecticut on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

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