Baseball notebook: Minutemen swept in weekend series against Dayton

UMass give up 38 runs in three games


Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Judah Katz, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts baseball team was overmatched this weekend in a series against Dayton. The Flyers (18-18, 6-6 Atlantic 10) swept the Minutemen (17-16-1, 6-6 A-10) in dominant fashion, racking up 45 hits in three games.

The series didn’t start off well for UMass, dropping the opening game 13-2. In the bottom of the first inning, the Flyers landed the first punch. Dayton’s Henry Strmecki doubled down the left field line to score Keagan Calero. Later in the inning, Jose Martinez hit a two-run home run to left field to extend its early lead to 3-0.

The Flyers extended their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the second inning on a Keagan Calero single that scored Matt Maloney and Alexis Castillo. UMass fought back in the top of the third. Mike Gervasi hit a home run to left field, scoring Kevin Skagerlind, putting the Minutemen back into contention 5-2.

The Flyers broke the game open after that, scoring eight runs over the next six innings without an offensive answer from UMass.

Minutemen pitcher Kevin Dow struggled to remain effective in his outing, allowing nine runs on 12 hits in less than four innings pitched. He also walked three batters and hit another. He continued to battle through at-bats, but the Dayton offense capitalized on hittable pitches in favorable counts. Charlie Devin came into the ballgame in relief, going an inning and change, allowing one run on one hit.

To finish off the game, Max LeBlanc went three innings, allowing three runs on two hits. He proved somewhat effective, striking out six Flyers hitters. Despite a positive presence on the mound, UMass was unable to find success at the plate.

Game two of the series saw little improvement from the Minutemen. Dayton scored two runs in the bottom of the first on a Keagan Calero base-running decision and Ben Jones RBI single.

Dayton continued to pile on, scoring a total of 12 runs before UMass answered with any offense. A late effort by the Minutemen in the seventh inning made the final score less distant, but the team energy heading into the third game was low.

Game three was much more competitive between the two Atlantic 10 programs. The bottom of the first inning was highly productive for Dayton. The Flyers scored four runs on four hits, including a Jay Curtis home run to left field. UMass’ next at bat saw Aidan Wilde blast a home run to centerfield, which momentarily helped break into Dayton’s four-run lead.

The Minutemen’s pitching seemed to collapse completely in the bottom of the second inning. The Flyers scored four more runs on four hits, featuring a Marcos Pujols 3-RBI home run to right field.

Over the following five innings, UMass kept the game competitive, scoring eight runs. By the bottom of the seventh inning, the score was 13-9 Dayton. The Minutemen were the closest they had been all weekend to taking a lead, but failed to mount a full comeback. The Flyers’ Parker Bard came into the game in the eighth frame and shut the door on the visiting team.

At this point in the season, UMass finds itself one game over .500. As a team, its hitting at a .280 clip with a .792 on-base plus slugging percentage, which suggests a consistent level of offensive production. On the other hand, the Minutemen pitching staff has allowed their opponents to maintain a .306 average, and a .858 OPS.

UMass heads back to Amherst to play Hartford on Tuesday, April 26. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

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