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

Ninth inning routs UMass to 10-8 win over Sacred Heart

Zack Zaetta goes 4-5 at the plate
Kayla Wong/Daily Collegian(2023)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn — Down by two runs with two outs in the ninth inning, the Massachusetts baseball team looked to make a comeback against Sacred Heart. Carter Hanson singled to start the two-out rally.

A fielding error by the Pioneers (16-18, 11-7 Northeast Conference) second baseman allowed Justin Blumenthal to reach base. Michael Toth reached first base while two runs came in for UMass (6-22, 1-8 Atlantic 10) to tie up the game. Zack Zaetta continued the scoring in the ninth for the Minutemen with a line drive over the Pioneers shortstop’s head. The RBI single brought in what would be the game-winning run for UMass, making the score 9-8.

“I was seeing the pitcher pretty well throughout the at-bat,” Zaetta said. “I was expecting a slider on that last pitch that I hit, and I was able to stay through it.”

Zaetta along with scoring the game-winning run, finished going 4-5 with two RBIs, along with a walk and a stolen base in one of his best games of the season.

The Minutemen weren’t done there with Kevin Skagerlind coming to the plate. With two runners on and two outs, Skagerlind smacked a single up the middle to score the runner from third and extend the UMass lead to two runs.

Tyler Dalton got the start on the mound for the Minutemen. Dalton pitched five innings, giving him a new season high. He only allowed one earned run with three strikeouts while throwing 83 pitches.

“It was really good for [Dalton], he’s not pitched up to his capability this year,” UMass coach Matt Reynolds said. “So obviously that’s a confidence booster for him. He did a really nice job for us and put us in position to shorten the game up and be able to play some matchups.”

Max LeBlanc came in for the bottom of the ninth on the mound for UMass. He shut the door striking out two batters and allowing zero hits or runs earning himself the save and the Minutemen the win.

Sacred Heart got a two-out rally going in the bottom of the eighth starting with a walk. In the top of the seventh, UMass began a different two-out rally with back-to-back walks. Sam Hill drove a ball into left-center field for a double that scored the runner from second and gave the Minutemen the lead again.

UMass was faced with a two-out bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth. Sam Belliveau came out of the bullpen and only had one run cross the plate before getting the last out of the inning.

In the fourth inning, Sacred Heart attempted to steal second with runners on the corners. A misplaced throw by the Minutemen put the ball in the outfield and allowed the runner from third to come in and score. UMass saw five errors throughout the contest but found a way to win.

“We made a couple of mistakes and that burned us that [Sacred Heart] capitalized on,” Reynolds said. “We gave them too many outs to work with just errors and mental mistakes. If we can clean up those errors, we’ll be in much better shape.”

Will MacLean came up with runners on second and third for the Minutemen in the top of the fifth inning. He sent a hard ground ball over the first base bag. The ball rolled all the way to the wall, scoring both base runners in the process for a two RBI double.

Nolan Tichy came up in the following at-bat and grounded a single in between the Pioneers shortstop and third baseman. MacLean came in to score from second on the RBI single.

Justin Blumenthal singled into right-center with one out in the sixth for UMass. He stole second and was driven in by a line drive into left field off the bat of Zaetta to give the Minutemen their first lead of the game.

UMass struggled in aspects of the game but put up 10 runs on 15 hits and pitched well enough to take home the win over Sacred Heart in a game that was close throughout all nine innings.

The Minutemen will look to carry the momentum from the mid-week win into their upcoming weekend series against Saint Joseph’s. First pitch of the series at John W. Smithson Field will be on Friday, April 21 at 3 p.m.

“[I’m] happy about the victory,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully we can learn from the mistakes. It’s always better to learn in victory than in defeat so we’ll take that. I feel really good about ourselves going into this weekend and moving forward.”

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

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