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 baseball celebrates the end of an era

The Minutemen honor 16 seniors on Friday
Kayla Wong/Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts baseball team played its last two games of the season on Friday in a doubleheader and honored its seniors before first pitch.

The Minutemen have 12 seniors moving on but also have four that have announced they are staying with the program. Charlie Devin, Jake Given, Zack Given and Mike Gervasi are names that will be taking another year. The four have made a large impact for UMass and will continue to in the 2024 season.

For the other 12 players, they will be moving on from the Minutemen with many memories to look back on. For some of the players, they were some of head coach Matt Reynolds first recruited players when he started as coach six years ago. Jack Pawloski was the first player Reynolds recruited and had commit to UMass.

Pawloski was one of two captains this year for the Minutemen and has made a name for himself since 2019. In 2022, the left handed pitcher had one of his best seasons, posting a 3.72 ERA. The accomplishment gave him a spot on the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League in the summer.

There are a few other four-year pitchers at UMass that are graduating this season, including Daniel Livnat, Scott LeSieur, Tyler Dalton, Jack Steele and Cole Koeppel. To end the game, a few of the pitchers were given standing ovations as they walked off the mound, including Steele. Before walking off, their teammates hugged them and congratulated them for all of their accomplishments.

“It was awesome,” Steele said on the ovation. “Just seeing my parents reaction and all my teammates. I wanted to get the last out, I wanted to stick in there but it was just awesome.”

Steele had the best start of his career with a personal best 12 strikeouts in his second win of the season.

LeSieur played his last game of the season against Fairfield and while it was a loss, it does not define what the pitcher has done for UMass. When LeSieur starts, Reynolds knows that he will be getting solid innings from the pitcher.  Reynolds has referred to him as a bulldog on the mound which has been proven with his 4.85 ERA, the third lowest this season.

Chris Pearsons and Ryan Coleman both came into UMass in 2020, the year the season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Pearsons and Coleman have been a player that have been leaned on when coming off the bench in numerous occasions. Most notably, Pearsons hit a bases-clearing double in the Minutemen’s win over Rhode Island that was a crucial hit to tie up the game. Pearsons also hit his first career grand slam in the same series.

Steve Luttazi started at UMass as a freshman that sat on the sidelines, but turned into one of the Minutemen’s most relied on players this year. He started most games for them as a designated hitter and ended his season with a .327 batting average, the second best on the team. At points in the season Luttazi had over a .400 batting average, recording numerous hits each game.

“I’m happy for them,” Reynolds said. “I wish we had a better season this year, I’m sure they do too. They have meant a lot to the program and they’ve really helped us change a lot of things in the program for the better.”

One of the things the Minutemen have prided themselves in is the work have they have done in the classroom and Reynolds gives a lot of that credit to the senior class.

“They do the right thing and they keep their nose clean and they work hard,” Reynolds said. “They work hard in the classroom and we really appreciate them.”

Jackson Harrigan, Blake Bennett and Taylor Perrett transferred into UMass but have made a positive impact in their short times in the program. While it’s the end for the 12 seniors, they leave the Minutemen better in the years to come.

“It’s kind of like the end of an era,” Reynolds said. “Some of these guys have been around for a long time.”

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

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