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

Gregoire: UMass baseball has the tools

Minutemen prove they can be consistent
Kayla Wong/Daily Collegian(2023)

Looking at its record tells you everything you need to know; Massachusetts baseball hasn’t had its best season. With a four-game win streak, its longest of the year, the Minutemen (10-26, 3-12 Atlantic 10) have proved that when they can put their tools together, they are a capable team.

The biggest area of improvement for UMass during its win streak has been pitching. When the Minutemen starters and bullpen are at their best, then UMass has an easier time winning games. The bullpen specifically has been pitching with more confidence and it shows.

In the Minutemen’s first win of the St. Bonaventure series, starter Jack Pawloski started off solid for UMass, going three innings, but gave up three runs. When Sam Belliveau came in relief, he shut down the Bonnies and gave the Minutemen cushion in the game. After one tough outing against Richmond, Belliveau has been an arm head coach Matt Reynolds can rely on. Against St. Bonaventure, though, he had his best outing of the season.

Renn Lints came into the game in after Belliveau and had a tough time on the mound. Despite not being his best, Mikey Jensen came in to shut down any chance of the Bonnies making a comeback.

Jensen has the lowest earned run average on the team, and he has constantly shown why in his outings. After one slip up game against Davidson where he gave up three runs, Jensen has been lights out for UMass. His 3.38 ERA speaks for itself with him being the most reliable guy out of the bullpen.

The pitching staff combined before their series against the Bonnies had a 7.60 ERA which has put the Minutemen into tricky situations before. In the series, the bullpen was able to keep runs off the board and it allowed UMass to gain a lead and keep it.

In the last game of the series on Saturday, Jack Steele, Tyler Dalton and Dylan Terwilliger combined for seven runs allowed. Steele started off rocky UMass and carried over to the bullpen. With a shaky start and bullpen, the Minutemen broke their win streak and gave up one loss in the series.

If starters can lower the runs they are allowing, the Minutemen will have an even better situation going forward.

The one area where UMass has still needed to improve on in wins is leaving runners on base. Reynolds has stressed about his disappointment in leaving runners on base, but the Minutemen have continued to do it. On Friday, UMass left 10 runners on base, an improvement, but the Minutemen offense could do better.

Except for leaving runner on base, though, UMass’ offense has been able to put good at-bats together. Up-and-down the lineup there have been improvements since the beginning of the season.

Freshman Justin Blumenthal is consistently in the lineup. He started off hot for the Minutemen, cooled off as the season went along but re-sparked his game recently and is becoming dominant in the batters box. Blumenthal moved his batting average above .300 during the St. Bonaventure series.

With Steve Luttazi, Carter Hanson, Nolan Tichy and Will MacLean, as well as Blumenthal, the UMass offense has been impressive to watch. If they can come up big for the Minutemen at the right time, runners left on base will not be a problem.

Despite ending the series against the Bonnies on a loss, the series showed UMass that when everything is going right, it’s hard to lose. With improvement to the bullpen and offense, the Minutemen look to be a better team for the last month of the season.

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.

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