UMass baseball defeats Albany 8-2 in home opener

Minutemen end seven game losing streak

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Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2022)

By Matt Skillings, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts baseball team won its home opener Tuesday afternoon, defeating Albany 8-2. Powered by a strong performance from the pitching staff, the Minutemen (4-12) broke out of their seven-game losing streak in their first game at Lorden Field this season.

The Minutemen grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first inning when they jumped on Albany (3-13-1) starter Rob Manetta. Mannetta surrendered four runs on three hits while walking one batter and hitting two.

Though Albany mustered little resistance for most of the game, the Great Danes provided their biggest threat of the game in the fifth inning when they managed to get the bases loaded with no outs on UMass pitcher Cole Koeppel.

Koeppel locked in at that moment however and struck out the next two batters. Despite giving up a base hit which allowed two runs to score, Koeppel got the Minutemen out of the jam with just the two runs allowed when it could’ve been much worse.

“We’ve had a knack of being able to kind of minimize some trouble and some damage and be able to make some of our best pitches when we’re in trouble, so that was really good to see,” head coach Matt Reynolds said of the fifth inning.

It was smooth sailing for the rest of the game for the UMass, as it never gave that early lead up backed by a strong performance from the entire pitching staff.

UMass has had a tough time putting offense and defense together this season, but Tuesday afternoon was a strong showing from both sides of the ball.

On the offensive side, the Minutemen were led by junior Nolan Tichy, sophomore Will MacLean and graduate student Steve Luttazi who combined to go 9-for-13 at the plate.

Tichy was unstoppable with the bat in his hands, going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate while driving in two runs.

“I was just keeping it simple and trying to find my pitch,” Tichy said after the game. “I saw my pitches and I was hitting it hard all day so, I was just trying to keep it simple.”

Will MacLean hit his second home run of the season, a positive stat for the sophomore who is currently sporting a batting average of .180.

Luttazi continued his strong start to the season with a 2-for-4 day with two RBI and two runs scored. He is now batting a stellar .381 on the year.

On the bump, the Minutemen were given a steady start from graduate student Renn Lints, who threw three scoreless innings while only giving up two hits, keeping UMass out of danger early on.

Wanting to save arms for the weekend however, Reynolds relieved Lints in the fourth inning, turning to Koeppel who struck out five in two innings of work despite allowing the only runs against on the day.

The final four innings were split between four pitchers who each got a frame to work. Ben Chrzanowski, Scott LeSieur, Charlie Devin and Jackson Harrigan were lights out to end the game for UMass, only allowing one combined hit.

Next up for the Minutemen is a weekend series with a strong St. Louis team. Game one gets underway Friday night at 7 p.m.

“Positive for us, hopefully we can have a good practice tomorrow and roll it into our first A-10 weekend coming up,” Reynolds said.

Matt Skillings can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Matt_Skillings.