Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutemen emerge victorious in offensive duel against St. Joseph’s

Minutemen tally 49 runs through three games
Shilpa Sweth/ Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts baseball team opened up Atlantic-10 conference play with a 2-1 series win against Saint Joseph’s in a historic offensive onslaught at Earl Lorden Field. The Amherst faithful were treated to one of the most action-packed trio of games in the last decade. UMass (10-9-1) racked up 49 runs on 52 hits, while St. Joseph’s (13-2) tallied 35 runs on 53 hits.

This burst of production by the Minutemen is not a new sight for fans this season, based on the ball-club’s 5.56 run average.

“It was certainly a hitter’s weekend,” UMass head coach Matt Reynolds said following Saturday’s double-header. “We can’t say enough about what we’re doing offensively … We swung the bats really, really well.”

The offensive success for UMass this season is a significant improvement from last year’s campaign. Still early in the season, the team has already scored 148 runs in 20 games. Last year, the Minutemen scored a total of 185 runs in 43 games. In addition, this year’s team has maintained a .790 on-base plus slugging percentage, a drastic upgrade over the 2021 season, when they finished the year with a .638 ops.

Scoring runs in the early part of the season is an important focus for New England teams, with temperatures low and pitchers’ velocities down. The Minutemen have shown the capability to put high numbers on the scoreboard this early, highlighted by the weekend’s run total.

Friday’s game saw the Minutemen score a staggering 23 runs on 22 hits. UMass’ 23 run salvo marked the most runs scored in a game by the program since March 1, 2009, when the Minutemen offense put up 25 runs against Fairfield.

Cole Hebble led the offensive charge on Friday for the Minutemen, going 5-6 at the plate, adding seven RBIs. Drew DeMartino went 3-6 at the dish, hitting two home runs en route to a six RBI afternoon. Right fielder Kevin Skagerlind picked up three RBIs on three hits.

The series saw both teams’ pitching staffs struggling in the series, with a total of 84 runs given up over a three game span. St. Joseph’s pitching staff gave up an average of 16 runs per game, while UMass’s gave up slightly under 12 runs per game. In Friday’s contest, the Hawks and Minutemen combined for 39 hits. Saturday’s double-header saw the clubs rack up a combined 66 hits through 18 innings.

“St. Joe’s can really swing it,” said Reynolds. “We knew that they had a really good offensive club. They always have big strong guys that can drive the baseball and cover the plate really well, but we ended up giving them a lot more than they earned…just missing some spots and getting in some disadvantaged counts.”

St. Joseph’s Luca Trigiani stepped up in a big way for his team in game two of Saturday’s double header. Trigiani launched a pair of towering fly balls that cleared the left field wall with ease, while driving in seven of the Hawks’ 16 runs.

Cole Hebble recorded his second five-hit game of the weekend series in the final game.

UMass will look to fine-tune its pitching and keep its offense on fire as it prepares for the Baseball Beanpot.

The Minutemen will head to Cambridge to take on Harvard next Tuesday at 3 p.m.

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

James DiLuca can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @DiLucaJames.

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