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 beats George Mason in first A-10 series win

Minutemen complete two late-game victories
Devin Lippman

The Massachusetts baseball team defeated George Mason in two of three games, winning its first conference series of the year. The Minutemen (14-21, 5-7 Atlantic 10) took games one and two of the weekend, coming through in the clutch in both contests to stun the Patriots (17-20, 5-7 A-10).

Game one went to extra innings, with the game having 11 total innings before Mike Gervasi started a two-out rally with a single into right-center field. A Jack Beverly walk set up Carter Hanson with two runners on. The junior outfielder deposited a ball over the right-field fence, propelling UMass to a 10-7 win.

The Minutemen found themselves in need of another big moment late in game two of the series, with George Mason holding a one-run lead heading into the ninth. A two-RBI single up the middle from Michael Toth brought home the tying and game-winning runs, with the final score ending at 9-6 to secure the series victory for UMass.

“It was important to come up with [Hanson and Toth’s game-winning hits], but even more important is the amount of runs we were able to put up going into that,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “… I thought we did a pretty good job of playing pretty solid defensively in games one and two and just managing and making sure that when [George Mason] picked up one or two runs it didn’t become five and six.”

Hanson finished the series with a team-high five RBIs over the course of the weekend, with a home run, a double and three walks. Toth reached base with his bat five times, with two doubles and four RBIs, all while throwing out four Patriots attempting to steal a bag on him from behind the plate.

Austin Burgess continued his hot streak as of late as well, having multiple three-hit games at the plate against George Mason. Two of the six went for extra bases, as Burgess didn’t slow down after being named one of the UMass Student Athletes of the Week on April 16.

“[Burgess] has been huge for us, and he’s also a big leader on our team, no question about it,” Reynolds said. “He’s been really impressive; I hope he continues to go the way he’s been going and stays healthy.”

The Minutemen have played four series against A-10 opponents so far. They won three out of nine games coming into the matchup with the Patriots, but after the weekend now sit tied with George Mason in the conference rankings at 5-7.

“We want to position ourselves getting into the playoffs, so only winning one [game in each of] the first three series and feeling like we had chances to win all three of those, we have some ground to make up here,” Reynolds said. “This series win was huge. We’re going to have to work hard to get a couple more to sneak ourselves into the playoffs.”

Throughout the weekend, the Minutemen saw varying performances from their arms on the mound. Callen Powers’ and Zack Given’s three-inning scoreless outings in games two and three stood out.

“Some guys were good, and some guys were maybe not their best, but we pitched it competitively enough to keep ourselves in the game,” Reynolds said. “Luckily, we were really swinging on Friday and Saturday, and put up some big numbers which was great.”

UMass couldn’t complete the sweep in game three, with George Mason putting together a full team effort to win 9-1 on Sunday. The Minutemen couldn’t create any momentum during Ryan Peterson’s nine-inning complete game for the Patriots.

Injuries plagued UMass for the duration of the series, with Sam Belliveau coming out of his game one start after just one inning. Multiple hitters were dealing with nagging injuries as well, with Beverly, Nolan Tichy, Kevin Skagerlind and Braden Sullivan all missing time.

“We’re pretty banged up right now, the biggest piece for us right now is to get healthy,” Reynolds said. “We’ve had multiple guys in and out for two or three weeks now and I’d say [Sunday] was kind of a peak.”

The injuries won’t have much time to heal, with two mid-week contests coming up in the next few days for UMass. Both will be on the road before a home series over the weekend.

The first of the two comes against UConn on Tuesday, April 23. First pitch from Storrs, Connecticut is set for 6 p.m.

“Coming into it we had to get a series win with where we are standings-wise,” Reynolds said. “We were able to do that, and do it on the road against a good George Mason team. Obviously, we didn’t perform the way that we’re capable of [Sunday], but looking at the entirety of the weekend, it was great to get two out of three.”

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

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