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 drops series against URI

Minutemen walk off in only win of three-game set
Kayla Wong/ Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts baseball team fell in two out of three games in its series with Rhode Island and while the Minutemen (11-29, 4-14 Atlantic 10) made game three of the series interesting, they failed to hold onto the lead.

The game started with Rhode Island (20-24, 10-8 A-10) putting up five runs off starter Jack Steele in the first inning. Steele allowed two more runs in the third before being taken out; he finished with seven runs on seven hits.

“We need to get a start,” UMass coach Matt Reynolds said. “We haven’t had a series all year with three reasonable starts … we’re making the plays. We put up nine runs today, that should be enough.”

After one more home run in the fourth inning, the score stood at 8-0. The Minutemen started their rally when Nolan Tichy launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Will MacLean.

Tichy continued an impressive day with a two run double in the sixth inning bringing in MacLean and Kevin Skagerlind. Carter Hanson scored Tichy on a single up the middle to bring the Rams lead down to three.

Justin Blumenthal’s single and a Sam Hill walk loaded the bases for Chris Pearsons in a big spot. He delivered with a towering shot over the wall in left field to give UMass a 9-8 lead. The home run was Pearson’s first home run this season and just the second of his career.

“Incredible,” Reynolds said about Pearsons. “Unbelievable spot coming up and delivering, giving us the lead … hopefully he stays hot.”

Jackson Harrigan came in for relief in the seventh in a big spot with two players on and one out. He delivered with two strikeouts to hold the lead. After a 1-2-3 eighth inning, Harrigan returned to the bump for the ninth.

Billy Butler hit his fourth home run of the series to give URI a 10-9 lead that provided the knockout punch as the Minutemen failed to bring anyone home in the bottom of the ninth.

UMass started out rocky in game two. By the fifth inning, the Rams found themselves in control with a 4-0 lead after starter Taylor Perrett allowed eight hits. The Minutemen fought back with a Tichy two-RBI double in the sixth making the score 4-2.

After struggling for a few innings, UMass completed the comeback in the ninth with a MacLean two-run home run.

The Rams retaliated in the 10th putting up three runs, only one of which was earned after a Sam Hill error. The Minutemen, down three going into the bottom half of the 10th didn’t give up hope.

Blumenthal quickly singled to start the inning followed by a Michael Toth single of his own. Hill walked leading to a key hit from none other than Pearsons who shot a bases clearing double into the right center gap to tie the game.

“I was just trying to clear my head,” Pearsons said. “I had a bad couple of at-bats before that. I don’t have many more games on this field so I tried to stay as calm as possible and do what I know I can do.”

A sacrifice bunt moved the winning run to 90 feet away for Skagerlind who delivered with a sacrifice fly, giving UMass its first walk-off victory of the year.

“I just tried to calm myself down,” Skagerlind said. “That was a wild game, coming back from down three and you step up to the plate, man on third, less than two outs. You’re pretty anxious and want to do too much … I tried to do as little as possible and go back to the fundamentals.”

The Minutemen dropped the first game of the series 11-5. After being tied at three after two innings, the Rams took a lead and never looked back.

UMass travels to face in-state rival UMass Lowell on Tuesday, May 9 with first pitch slated for 4 p.m.

Owen Shelffo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @owen_shelffo.

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