UMass baseball fends off Fairfield in thrilling win on Tuesday

Minutemen tally 10 runs on 14 hits

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Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Judah Katz, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts baseball team came out with a win over Fairfield by a score of 10-7 in an offensive duel on Tuesday. The Minutemen (20-18-1) racked up 10 runs on 14 hits against the Stags (24-17) on a cold afternoon in Connecticut.

The afternoon started off with a bang as UMass scored four runs in the top of the first inning, on a pair of two-RBI home runs from Cole Hebble and Will MacLean.

The Minutemen stretched their lead to 5-0 in the third on an Aidan Wilde blast to left field. The Stags found themselves in an early hole, but responded in the bottom half of the inning.

Colin Kelly of Fairfield singled to center field, scoring Charlie Pagliarini and Matt Bergevin. The next at-bat, Matt Venuto doubled to right, scoring Matt Zaffino to cut the lead to 6-3.

UMass took the momentum back from Fairfield in the top of the fifth inning, scoring three runs on three hits, including a Matt Gervasi two-run homer to left field. With the Minutemen leading 9-3 in the top of the fifth, they gained control and didn’t relinquish the lead until later on in the game.

“We were able to spread the hits throughout the lineup,” UMass coach Matt Reynolds said.

The Stags scored one run over the following five innings. The UMass pitching staff limited Fairfield hitters’ success by throwing pitches over the plate consistently and forcing contact in favorable counts.

“It was a pretty well pitched ballgame,” said Reynolds.

Although the Minutemen shut down their opponents at the plate, they struggled to extend their lead. They did not score from the sixth inning through the ninth. The Minutemen added a run to their total in the top of the ninth from a Will MacLean sacrifice fly to center field that scored Cole Hebble. Entering the bottom frame of the inning UMass had a comfortable six-run lead.

The Stags fought back in their last at bats, scoring three runs on two hits in the bottom of the ninth. The final play of the game extinguished any hopes for Fairfield, as Drew DeMartino through a missile to the plate to cut down the Stags runner at home.

“[DeMartino] had [the runner at home] by a good deal,” Reynolds said. “It was a good recovery, good relay and we were fortunate enough to convert it.”

UMass starter Scott LeSieur proved effective in his start, limiting the Stags to three runs in four innings and allowing five hits over that stretch. Max LeBlanc came into the game after LeSieur and went three innings, allowing one run on five hits. Matt Aronson closed the game out, giving up three runs in two innings.

Per usual for the Minutemen this season, they had success at the plate from the top of their lineup to the bottom. They had six hitters with multi-hit games, which helped them score double-digit runs, something they have done nine times so far this season.

Up until this point, the Minutemen are hitting .283 as a team, which is a significant improvement from years past. Heading into the final stretch of the season, they remain one of the more productive teams in New England.

UMass continues its season this Friday against Davidson. First pitch is at 6 p.m.

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