UMass outlasts Harvard 9-5 in Beanpot opening game

Minutemen tally nine runs on 14 hits


Shilpa Sweth / Daily Collegian

By Judah Katz, Collegian Correspondent

Rolling into Beantown for the opening round of the Baseball Beanpot, still scorching hot off a series win against Saint Joseph’s, the Massachusetts baseball team bashed its way to a victory over Harvard on Tuesday. UMass (11-9-1) scored nine runs on 14 hits against the Crimson (13-10) on a breezy day at O’Donnell Field in Boston.

The Minutemen opened the scoring in the top of the first inning, with two 2-RBI singles from Will MacLean and Dylan Judd. Two innings later, Kevin Skagerlind crushed his first home run to left field to put UMass up 3-1.

The UMass pitching staff struggled to stifle a Harvard rally, allowing five walks and three wild pitches that led to four runs. After a swift frame pitched by the Crimson’s James Kirkpatrick in the top of the fourth, and a Logan Bravo single to left field in the bottom of the inning, Harvard entered the 5th with a 5-3 lead.

UMass needed a massive momentum shift to get back into contention. Fortunately, in the bottom of the sixth, Nolan Tichy took matters into his own hands. With two runners on and two outs, Tichy smacked a 2-RBI single into right center field to even the score at five apiece.

“Nolan did a great job staying back on a really sharp breaking-ball,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “It was a huge hit.”

Tichy’s clutch knock lit a fire under the UMass offense. The Minutemen scored a run in the following two innings to put them up 7-5 heading into the ninth inning. As the Crimson thought they saw the last of the visiting team’s offense, UMass tallied two more runs on four singles.

“We were able to put a lot of pressure on them, which was great,” Reynolds said.

Looking at the box score from Tuesday’s contest, there is seemingly an uncharacteristic drop-off in scoring by Harvard over the final five innings. The Minutemen bullpen silenced their opponent, allowing zero runs on two hits down the stretch, from a combined effort by Blake Bennett, Zach Clevenger and Jack Pawloski.

“We got control of the game,” Reynolds said.

UMass has outscored its opponents 58-40 over the last four games, but still looks to improve upon its consistency on the mound.

“We just have to do a better job of being sharp and hitting our spots,” Reynolds said.

The Minutemen have struggled so far this season keeping runs off the board, as evidenced by their 5.62 earned run average. They also have been prone to putting runners on base via the walk, exhibited by their combined 4.013 bb/9 (walks per 9 innings).

The afternoon game proved fruitful for many UMass players offensively. Red-hot Cole Hebble added two more singles to his season total, coming off a stretch of games that would earn him Atlantic 10 Player of the Week. In those four games played, Hebble had a .700 batting average, with a 1.100 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Kevin Skagerlind had three hits on the day, including a moonshot that left Crimson outfielders rattled. Drew DeMartino, Tichy and Jacob Sloss would all collect two hits as well.

The Minutemen continue their season with a three-game home series at Earl Lorden Field against Fordham on Friday, April 8 to Sunday, April 10. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. on Friday.

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