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

Michael Toth’s offense helps UMass baseball to series sweep

Sophomore totals two home runs
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2024)

Michael Toth was just what the Massachusetts baseball team needed in its series sweep of Saint Joseph’s.

The Minutemen (18-22, 8-7 Atlantic 10) have put up their best offensive performance in the past two weeks and Toth is critical to that offensive explosion from UMass. After his season average was below .200 against Fordham on April 14, Toth’s heated up. The sophomore is now hitting .242 just seven games after the Fordham series.

“The bat over the last two weeks or so is starting to really pick up,” head coach Matt Reynolds said about Toth. “The bat speed is coming back and he’s starting to really figure things out. For him to lob two out this week was huge and then he came up in the eighth there even though he didn’t score. First pitch, he’s just got his confidence back, he’s got his swing back. He did a really nice job.”

Against Saint Joseph’s (17-22, 6-9 A-10), Toth hit two home runs over the course of two games on Saturday and Sunday. The home run on Saturday was a crucial part of the Minutemen’s walk-off win. The two-run long ball put UMass on the board first, igniting the offense which led to the Minutemen’s eventual 7-6 win.

On Sunday, Toth came up to bat in a 1-1 game with two runners on base for him. On a big swing that sent the ball past the left field wall, Toth gave UMass a 4-1 lead. The home run was the first of six runs scored in the fifth inning.

“Really I was just trying to sit back,” Toth said on the home run on Sunday. “First at-bat I saw a changeup and I sat back on that because he was probably going to go for it again. So, I just had to work my butt of in an 0-2 count and see the ball, hit the ball.”

In the 2023 season, the sophomore hit just one home run in 25 games started, but this year he has already hit three out of the ballpark.

During the Friday game, the sophomore struggled, going 0-4 with a strikeout. As he settled into the series, he gradually started seeing the ball better. On Saturday, he went 1-4 with the home run and on Sunday he went 2-4.

“I had to go back to basics,” Toth said. “I felt a little shaky on Friday and I just wanted to hit line drives. Luckily the wind was going my way [Sunday] and [Saturday].”

On top of offense, Toth has been a steady presence behind the plate. The catcher has just one error in 27 starts at catcher. He sits at a .995 fielding percentage with 25 assists. He has also caught 19 runners stealing bases, compared to his 12 last season. Toth had a strong season at catcher last year but has grown even more coming into this season.

“It’s fantastic,” Reynolds said on Toth’s growth. “He really over the course of last year really came on offensively. He was really slow to start offensively this year, he’s been exceptional defensively. I haven’t seen a better defensive catcher this year, so he’s been rock solid behind the plate.”

Toth and the Minutemen continue their homestand against Quinnipiac on Wednesday, May 1. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Earl Lorden Field.

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

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