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 drops tough pitcher’s duel against Holy Cross

Minutemen bats struggle to score runners in scoring position
Maria Uminski/Daily Collegian (2012)

The Massachusetts baseball team lost 4-3 in a battle against Holy Cross on Tuesday night.

In the top of the ninth in a one-run game, UMass (3-8) had runners on first and second base with only one out in the inning. The Minutemen failed to capitalize on the great opportunity with a pop-up to shortstop, followed by a strikeout looking to end the game and give Holy Cross (6-14) the 4-3 win.

The Minutemen began their scoring in the top of the second inning. Will MacLean led off with a double into center field. After advancing to third base, Steve Luttazi came up and knocked MacLeanin with an RBI single up the middle to give UMass a 1-0 lead.

“[Luttazi’s] been our best hitter so far,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “It’s good to see him produce and knock in the first run. He’s been doing his job. I’ve been really happy with him at the plate.”

The eighth inning also produced some run support for UMass when Luttazi was hit by a pitch. A walk by Chris Pearsons along with a wild pitch gave the Minutemen runners on second and third with one out.

Kyle Hoog came in to pinch-hit and did not disappoint, smacking a double into left field allowing both runners to score. The two RBI double set up UMass with  a one-run deficit heading into the ninth.

“[Hoog] did a great job staying on a ball on the outer half and driving it down the line to opposite field,” Reynolds said. “It was a big hit. It got us back in the game. It was great to see.”

The Crusaders led off the bottom of the third with a double into center. The next batter sent another double into left field, scoring the runner from second in the process and tying the game 1-1.

Holy Cross had a big sixth inning with a walk and a single leading to a three-run-homerun. The blast over the right field wall gave the Crusaders a 4-1 lead, one that they would hold onto throughout the rest of the contest.

Jack Pawloski got the start on the mound for UMass throwing 19 pitches in one inning of work, not giving up any runs while allowing two hits and striking out a batter. The second pitcher utilized by the Minutemen was Cole Koeppel. He threw 46 pitches in two innings, finishing his performance with two strikeouts. He allowed one run on three hits.

Ben Chrzanowski began the fourth inning on the bump for UMass. He went two and a third innings throwing 49 pitches. He added one strikeout alongside four walks and one hit, surrendering two earned runs after being taken out of the game. Mikey Jensen took over with one out in the sixth inning for the Minutemen. He finished one and two-thirds innings throwing 15 pitches, allowing one earned run on two hits.

The eighth inning on the mound for UMass was the job of Zack Given. He shut down Holy Cross, striking out the side with 17 pitches. This dominant inning kept the Crusaders lead at 4-3 heading into the ninth.

“We’re pitching well enough to win and playing defense well enough to win,” Reynolds said. “Our offense is not good enough right now.”

Runners being left on base was an unfortunate theme for the Minutemen throughout the contest, with 14 runners left on without crossing the plate. Strikeouts were another tough spot for UMass. 12 strikeouts made it difficult to get runs on the board throughout the game.

The Minutemen will look to get their bats going and turn things around in their next contest. They will play the University of Connecticut on Wednesday, March 22. First pitch against the Huskies will be at 3 p.m.

“We had multiple opportunities to score with runners in scoring position with less than two outs and didn’t capitalize,” Reynolds said. “Until we fix that, it’s going to be difficult to beat good teams. Hopefully we’re on the way to fixing that.”

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

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