UMass drops three straight to UNC Asheville

Minutemen swept in second series of the year

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Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2022)

By Matt Skillings, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts baseball team was swept by UNC Asheville this weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. The Minutemen (2-4) struggled in all aspects of play over the three games, getting outscored on the weekend 30-8.

The third game of the weekend had the closest final score of any of the games, 7-3 and though that could normally indicate a relatively close game, a 6-run second inning from Asheville (11-4) made it an uphill battle from the start.

After a short outing from Tyler Dalton who only went two innings, the UMass pitching staff had its best seven innings of the weekend. Zack Given, Max LeBlanc and Charlie Devin combined to allow just one run on six hits with two strikeouts apiece.

“We did have some very good pitching performances, Given was good, LeBlanc was good in his first outing this year,” head coach Matt Reynolds said.

Strong relief pitching wasn’t enough for UMass to come back however, as the Minutemen never cut the lead to less than three runs.

Game two of the weekend started with promise when the Minutemen took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. In the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs got runners on second and third with no outs. However, UMass starter Taylor Perrett worked out of the jam, only allowing one run in what could have otherwise been a big inning.

The Minutemen would regain the lead in the top of the third when centerfielder Kevin Skagerlind grounded out to short, driving in Zack Zaetta who tripled to lead the inning off.

That was the last time the Minutemen held a lead however. Asheville bounced back with a four-run third inning of its own and went on to score nine unanswered runs to complete the 10-3 victory.

The weekend series started with a 13-2 loss on Friday. The Minutemen couldn’t recover from an early five-run deficit and were only able to muster up two runs offensively.

Pitching faltered in game one of the weekend, as three of the four players on the mound allowed at least four runs in their appearances. Dylan Terwilliger got the start and allowed five runs on six hits while walking two in just two innings of work.

Mikey Jensen was the only Minuteman hurler to escape unscathed, throwing a scoreless eighth inning in an otherwise forgettable day for UMass pitching.

Defense was also an issue as the Minutemen made six errors in the field on Friday afternoon and eight total on the weekend.

“We have to minimize damage, we didn’t do a good job of it pitching wise and we didn’t do a good job defensively,” Reynolds said. “In each game we gave the opposing offense multiple extra outs to work with and that was a big problem for the big inning there. If we could’ve managed that a little bit more we could’ve been in at least two of the three games.”

While pitching faltered for the Minutemen, the Bulldogs were led by a strong start in game one from Clay Edmondson who gave up just one run on seven hits while striking out seven over seven innings of work.

The offensive standout for UMass on the weekend was Carter Hanson, who went 3-6 with a home run and four RBI.

“He’s doing a great job,” Reynolds said of Hanson. “He’s done a really nice job at the plate and defensively as well. We didn’t start him in game three because we were facing a lefty, and a right-handed arm comes out of the pen and we pinch-hit him and he hits a big home run for us, gets us right back in the game.”

UMass will stay down in North Carolina to take on Gardner-Webb on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

“We’ve got to re-group and try to figure out how to get back to doing the basic baseball things,” Reynolds said. “Too many errors, too many strikeouts, too many missed executed pitches. Got a little work to do over the next couple of days here.”

Matt Skillings can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @matt_skillings.