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 freshmen dominate in two wins in a row

The Minutemen break five game losing streak
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2024)

After losing five consecutive games, the Massachusetts baseball team won two straight against Norfolk State and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, respectively.

On Tuesday, the Minutemen (5-11) traveled to Norfork, Virginia to face Norfolk State (7-11) in the first of two games in two consecutive days. UMass freshman pitcher Andrew Middleton was sharp, going five innings with no earned runs, two hits allowed and striking out two.

After three scoreless innings in this game, outfielder Carter Hanson hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning off pitcher Liam Royster. The Minutemen would score two more in the sixth inning after loading the bases and scoring two runs off a walk and a sacrifice fly, setting up their midweek victory against Norfolk State.

“At the end of the day, we needed to get back on track winning wise and we were able to do that,” head coach Matt Reynolds said.

From the two games, UMass outscored opponent teams 17-6. Four of these runs in the second game against UMES (0-16) with a grand slam from freshman infielder Braden Sullivan.

In the second game, the fielding for UMass saw its flaws as it had four total errors from the two games with three coming in against the Shore Hawks. In the third inning against UMES, the Minutemen gave up three runs, with one of them coming after an error from Hanson, leading to outfielder Isaiah Beseris scoring.

Freshman pitcher Justin Masteralexis started the second game for UMass on the mound. Quentin Smith singled in the second inning for the Shore Hawks, bring in Doyle McNew and Ulysses Luciano for a UMES a 2-1 lead.  However, Masteralexis was extremely strong in the following three innings, pitching perfect in the fourth and fifth along with pitching a 6-4-3 double play during the sixth inning.

After going down 5-1 entering the fourth inning, the Minutemen scored eight straight, including Sullivan’s home run. They would go on to be victorious in the matchup, winning 12-5.

“We come up with a big inning when we need to,” Reynolds said. “We have had that resiliency throughout the year which is great. We were able to fight our way back and Masteralexis did a great job at settling the game down. He kinda found his rhythm and Powers came in and we held them to that five number.”

Both games saw the start of freshmen pitchers and three total pitchers throughout the past two games who combined for 14 innings with 12 strikeouts, three earned runs and nine hits over the two-game span. This was the first win of the season and Middleton’s college career, also the second win of the season for Masteralexis.

“They earned these starts to their credit,” Reynolds said. “You can’t replace experience. Everything they are able to learn from these opportunities is going to pay dividends in the future.”

UMass will continue its road trip series heading to South Orange, New Jersey with a three-game series against Seton Hall starting on Friday, March 22. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

“It’s difficult having your first 28 games on the road. There is an objective disadvantage to this as well,” Reynolds said. “I think we will be in pretty good shape heading up to Seton Hall.”

Jonathan Murgida can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jonathanmurgida.

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