UMass baseball drops weekend series against George Mason

Minutemen get shut out on Saturday

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Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire, Collegian Staff

After a strong performance in the first game of the series against George Mason, the Massachusetts baseball team’s offense could not keep up.

The Minutemen’s (19-18-1, 7-8 Atlantic 10) offense was resilient in the first game of the series, scoring seven runs in the final two innings.

In the seventh inning on Friday, UMass was down five runs to start off the inning but scored five of its own to tie the game heading into the top of the eighth. What started off as a Patriots (16-26, 8-7 A-10) pitching mistake, hitting Cole Hebble with a pitch, ended up being the Minutemen’s gain. The mistakes added up for George Mason as Kevin Skagerlind reached on an error due to the Patriots third baseman not being able to field the ball to first base. After that, the Minutemen put solid at-bats together to tie the game heading into the eighth inning.

In the eighth, a Will Maclean double to left center batted in Ryan Coleman and Hebble, giving UMass a 9-8 lead and eventual win after shutting out George Mason in the top of the ninth.

After Friday, the Minutemen couldn’t put at-bats together to produce enough offense to take the series. On Saturday, there were a total of four hits produced from the UMass lineup. The Minutemen produced zero runs, while the Patriots ran away with eight runs in the game.

Then on Sunday, UMass scored two runs off eight hits, but it was not taking advantage of runners on base. The fourth inning was ultimately the most productive inning for the Minutemen. In the top of the inning, they started off with pitcher Zach Clevenger getting out of a jam with two runners on base. In the bottom of the inning, Drew DeMartino led off with a single to center field. After multiple successive foul balls, Gervasi hit a deep single to left field, batting in DeMartino.

Colin Shapiro also grabbed his first home run of the season in the first inning. Shapiro led off the game with a home run. He also singled in the ninth inning with one out to threaten George Mason’s 3-0 lead. Shapiro moved up in the lineup to a leadoff spot to give Hebble a better spot in the lineup for RBI opportunities.

“[Shapiro] did a great job today,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “It felt like a good time to move Hebble to more of an RBI spot. Shapiro did a great job leading us off with a home run, which is great. He came up with a big hit in the ninth and unfortunately we couldn’t get him around.”

Hebble went 2-12 in the series with zero RBI’s. Aidan Wilde went 0-9, but was able to grab an RBI from reaching base on a throwing error in the first game of the series.

“We didn’t execute offensively,” Reynolds said. “We had a couple additional opportunities, and we didn’t really do a great job at the plate discipline wise or executing when we needed to.”

Despite the Minutemen’s offense not being able to produce, pitching had a solid outing on Sunday. Clevenger went five innings in his outing, giving up two hits and no runs. He has been mostly a relief pitcher for UMass, but with the recent performances of starting pitchers, Reynolds wanted to experiment with Reynolds starting on the mound.

“We’ve been searching for it a little bit as our starters go and it was time to try something different again,” Reynolds said. “[Clevenger] did a great job. I think he threw 15 out of 19 first pitch strikes. He was ahead all day long and he did what you’re supposed to do as a pitcher.”

The Minutemen will travel to Connecticut to take on Fairfield, Tuesday, May 3. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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