Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass Baseball suffers defeat in each game of three-game series against Wichita State

Minutemen allow 38 runs over the weekend
Shilpa Sweth / Daily Collegian.

The Massachusetts baseball team was swept by Wichita State over the weekend in Wichita, Kansas. The Minutemen (3-12) could not get things going and were mercy-ruled in each of the three contests.

The third game of the series started off very competitive. Both teams got great performances by their respective starting pitchers and played well defensively early in the game.

UMass got out to an early lead in the top of the first. Zack Zaetta got on base by way of an infield single hit back at the pitcher and was scored on a base hit by Mike Gervasi through the left side. Wichita State (13-10) bounced back in the fourth inning with two extra-base hits followed by a single, to put up three runs on the board and make it 3-1 Shockers.

The fifth inning brought more offense for the Minutemen. Nolan Tichy led off the inning with a single through the left side of the infield and was scored shortly after by an RBI single off the bat of Zaetta.

“[Zaetta] just battles, nothing special, just competes,” Head Coach Matt Reynolds said. “He’s got a knack to find some holes. He’s been great for us offensively.”

Wichita State scored nine runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, extending its lead to 12. The game was called in the seventh inning, with the final score being 14-2 Shockers.

Jack Steele started on the mound for UMass, coming back from injury for the first time since the season opener. Steele threw 50 pitches in three innings of work, with three strikeouts and zero runs allowed.

“[Steele] was really good,” Reynolds said. “Really excited to get him back out there and the [velocity] was every bit there. He threw the ball really well without the use of his slider, which was the pitch that was really bothering him. He was able to kind of dominate for three innings against a pretty darn good offensive team with just his fastball and his changeup.”

Game two of the weekend began with Wichita State getting out to an early lead. Two home runs along with an RBI single set the Shockers up with a 4-0 lead at the end of the first.

UMass bounced back in the second, with Tichy putting a run on the board, lifting a pitch low in the zone deep into left field that cleared the wall for a solo home run.

Wichita State added to its lead with two runs in the fourth inning. With a runner on second, the Shockers blasted a two-run homer high over the right-center field wall. This left it 6-1 at the end of the fourth.

In the top of the sixth inning, Zaetta and Ryan Coleman worked walks in 3-2 counts to put two runners on. Carter Hanson dropped a line drive into right field, scoring Coleman from second.

The Shockers added to their lead in the sixth and seventh, with back-to-back solo home runs, a two-RBI single, a wild pitch and some miscommunication to end the seventh. Errors plagued the Minutemen, recording nine total errors throughout the three-game series.

“As of late it’s been mental mistakes,” Reynolds said. “We have to be rock solid making plays and we were not. Hopefully, we can clean that up defensively and continue to pitch the way we have.”

The game was called during the seventh inning, with the score at 12-2 Wichita State. Sam Belliveau gave UMass five innings on the rubber in relief, throwing 64 pitches in the game and striking out two batters along the way.

“To be able to go in there without the lead and do your job regardless of what the scoreboard says is huge,” Reynolds said. “[Belliveau’s] been a key piece for us, and his role is just going to keep increasing.”

In game one of the series, UMass got out to an early lead but couldn’t hold on through the end of the contest.

Zaetta led off the first inning and worked a nine-pitch at-bat before sending a line drive up the middle into left-center field for a single. Will MacLean smoked a hard ground ball past the second baseman and into right field for an RBI single, scoring Zaetta and giving the Minutemen an early 1-0 lead at the end of the first. The only other inning of scoring for UMass was in the seventh, with Sam Hill leading off the inning with a double off the wall into deep left-center field before being driven in by Zaetta.

A triple into deep right-center field scored a run for Wichita State and set up another to come in on a sacrifice fly, giving it its first lead in the bottom of the third. The fourth inning brought another run in, giving the Shockers a 3-1 lead. The fifth and sixth innings were filled with more of the same with Wichita State having great success offensively. The Shockers crossed the plate seven times in the two innings, putting the score at 10-1 heading into the seventh.

The game was called in the seventh inning with Wichita State scoring two runs courtesy of a solo home run and a spinning ground ball that created confusion leading to the game-winning RBI.

“Overall, aside from the losses, we didn’t play up to our capability level,” Reynolds said. “Not even close to it. So that was the really disappointing part. We beat ourselves.”

The Minutemen will look to turn things around in their first home game coming up against the University of Albany. The home opener for the Minutemen will be at Earl Lorden Field on Tuesday, March 28. First pitch against the Great Danes will be at 3 p.m.

“It’ll be good to get off the road,” Reynolds said. “We finally get to play a home game and settle into a more normal schedule where we’re not traveling all the time.”

Mike Maynard can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @mike_maynard_.

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