UMass baseball wins 7-4 against Sacred Heart on Wednesday

Minutemen break a three-game losing streak

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Maya Geer / Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire, Collegian Staff

A 7-4 victory over Sacred Heart allowed the Massachusetts baseball team to break a three-game losing streak on Wednesday.

The Minutemen (17-13-1, 6-3 Atlantic 10) continued to do what they have done all year with scoring multiple runs in an inning. On Wednesday, in the first inning the Minutemen offense scored four runs against a struggling Pioneers (4-31, 3-9 Northeast Conference) pitching.

The inning started off with Cole Hebble hitting a double to right center. After Hebble, Kevin Skagerlind and Dylan Judd recorded outs, leaving Will MacLean to come up to bat with two outs and a runner on third base. MacLean worked a walk to get on base to keep the inning alive for UMass. Nolan Tichy sent both MacLean and Hebble home on a triple due to a Sacred Heart outfielder getting stuck in the fence and not being able to play the ball. Steve Luttazi singled to right field to send Tichy home and Jacob Sloss walked to add runners on first and second. Luttazi reached home due to an error on a ball that Michael Rounds hit.

Despite putting up four runs in the inning, Reynolds thought he could have seen more from his players throughout the innings that followed.

“It was great,” Reynolds said on the first inning. “[Sacred Heart] came in and did a nice job in the middle of the game of shutting us down and luckily we were able to hang on and keep them off the board. We’ll take the big early ones, but we’ve got to keep going. It’s easy to sit back when you jump out to a big lead and think it’s going to be okay, but it’s a long game, can’t run the clock out.”

Four Minutemen recorded hits against the Pioneers with a combined eight hits. Tichy recorded the most hits, with three on a triple, and two singles. The second baseman singled in the fifth inning and a UMass player did not record a hit until Tichy stepped up to bat again in the eighth inning and recorded another single.

MacLean and Luttazi were the ones to take advantage of the Sacred Heart pitching the most with home runs. MacLean’s came in the second inning with Hebble on first base and hit the ball passed the center field wall, giving his fourth home run of the season. Luttazi hit a solo home run over the right field fence two innings later to give UMass a 7-3 lead.

Scott LeSieur started on the mound for the Minutemen, going six innings in his outing. LeSieur gave up three runs on five hits, allowing three walks. Two of the runs were in the first inning due to two throwing errors made by the Minutemen. Max LeBlanc went an inning without giving up a run, but it was Blake Bennett who closed out the game for UMass. In two innings Bennett have up two hits and allowed one run. After the UConn game where the Minutemen pitching gave up 28 runs, Reynolds was satisfied with the performance he got out of the pitching staff on Wednesday.

“[LeSieur] did a really nice job, he basically gave up a well hit, but winded home run, that’s probably a double or maybe even an out,” Reynolds said. “We gave away two runs that weren’t his fault at all, probably got six outs for himself in the first inning. That’s a really quality start from him. [LeBlanc] came in and did a decent job. [Bennett] was not at his best, but good enough to get it done. It was a good bounce back from those guys.”

This win was needed for UMass after losing three straight and ending the night before Wednesday with a 11-28 loss against UConn.

“I talked to the team after yesterday about just feeling like this is one that we’ve got to come away with and we found a way to do it,” Reynolds said.

The Minutemen will travel to Ohio to take on Dayton in a three-game series on Friday, April 22. First pitch is at 3 p.m.

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