UMass pitching staff allows zero earned runs in victory over Albany

Minutemen get quality innings out of six different pitchers

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Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2022)

By Mike Maynard, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts baseball team’s pitching staff accomplished season-high totals in multiple different categories while taking home an 8-2 win over the University of Albany. The six different arms used combined to have one of the best performances on the mound this season.

The fifth inning of the game had Cole Koeppel staying on the bump from the previous inning for the Minutemen (4-12). A quick single into left field started off the inning for the Great Danes (3-13-1). An error in the field and a walk gave Albany the bases loaded with no one out.

Koeppel struck out the next two batters in a row, both swinging and missing at the right-hander’s offerings. A two-RBI single brought two unearned runs across for the Great Danes. The next batter came up still having a runner in scoring position but was yet again sat down by a strikeout.

Koeppel took over in relief for UMass in the fourth inning. He struck out the first batter he faced swinging on three pitches. An error in the field put the next runner on. After the second batter of the inning, Koeppel suffered an injury forcing trainers to attend to his throwing hand. He stayed in the game, continuing to pitch as if nothing changed.

“I couldn’t tell you what it was,” Koeppel said. “I just looked down and thought it was some extra sweat on my hand. Turns out it was a lot of blood. Just slit open my knuckle, nothing serious. Got it patched up and was able to get back out there.”

A fielder’s choice put down the runner on first. The next batter was again taken out courtesy of the strikeout, this time swinging and missing in a 1-2 count. This ended the first inning of work for Koeppel having allowed zero runs or hits, with two strikeouts.

The day on the mound for Koeppel ended after two innings, finishing with the win along with two runs (zero earned), two hits and one walk while getting five of his six outs by way of the strikeout. The five-strikeout performance was the most by a pitcher for UMass this season.

“I’ve really been working hard just trying to get [my curveball] over the plate,” Koeppel said. “It really paid off today and hopefully I can continue to ride with that.”

Renn Lints got the start on the bump for UMass. After allowing a leadoff single that would advance to second base on a steal, he shut the door on the first inning. He induced two fly-outs and struck one Great Dane batter out to finish the frame scoreless.

The second inning for the Minutemen began with a change at catcher due to injury. Lints was not bothered by this, as he put Albany down 1-2-3 on 10 pitches to continue his scoreless outing.

The three-inning start for Lints ended with zero earned runs, two hits and one strikeout while throwing 37 pitches. Even allowing two leadoff baserunners, no runs crossed the plate for Albany in the first three innings.

It was a 10-strikeout performance by UMass, its highest total in a nine-inning game this season. The pitching staff only walked two batters which also tied its lowest total in a nine-inning game in 2023.

“I thought our pitchers came out and did a great job of throwing strike one,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “That gave us an opportunity to be in some advantage counts for the pitcher and gave us a couple of opportunities to leave the zone and see if we can induce some swing and miss.”

Ben Chrzanowski was given the task of the sixth inning on the mound for UMass. He made quick work of the Great Danes allowing just one baserunner on a hit-by-pitch. Two groundouts and a strikeout ended his one inning with no hits allowed and zero runs crossing the plate.

Scott LeSieur, Charlie Devin and Jackson Harrigan took to the mound for the seventh, eighth and ninth innings and capped the game off allowing no more runs and adding two more strikeouts collectively.

The Minutemen pitched one of their best games of the season to this point, only allowing five hits (zero extra-base hits) and having zero earned runs on the stat sheet. UMass will look to continue its pitching success in the upcoming weekend series against Saint Louis University. First pitch of the series will be on Friday, March 31, in St. Louis at 7 p.m.

“We pitched very well,” Reynolds said. “We did a great job [throwing strikes], every single one of them came in pumping strikes right away.”

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