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 falls to Dayton in first round of A-10 Tournament

Leif Bigelow has strong seven inning outing
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2024)

The Massachusetts baseball team could not battle back from its seventh inning, falling to the Dayton Flyers 4-1 in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament on Tuesday night.

The seventh inning featured two runs scored by Dayton (33-20, 15-9 A-10) that UMass (24-28, 13-12 A-10) could not overcome. Flyers batter Mason Dobie worked a walk to get on base with one out. With the game knotted at one run apiece, Alejandro Cazorla came up to bat determined to give Dayton its first lead of the game. With a big swing, Cazorla hit the ball over the left center field wall which gave the Flyers their 3-1 lead.

UMass starter Leif Bigelow did not allow any more scoring chances for Dayton, striking out the next batter.

Zack Given came in relief of Bigelow in the seventh inning and with the Flyers offense finding confidence, they added a run to make a 4-1 lead. David Mendez extended the lead on a two out home run to left center field.

The game started as a pitcher’s duel for Bigelow and Dayton freshman starter Connor Fennell. Through five innings, no runs crossed the plate. In seven innings pitched, Bigelow allowed just four hits, two walks and eight strikeouts. The best inning for the graduate student came in the fourth inning, as he struck out the side.

“[Bigelow] was outstanding,” head coach Matt Reynolds said. “For somebody who has exclusively been a bullpen guy to be able to come in a big spot when we had to throw all our starters to full starts to just try to get in to the playoffs, to have somebody step into a spot like that was really outstanding.”

Fennell gave up four hits, a walk and struck out six batters in his 5.2 innings pitched.

The Minutemen’s defense was also a crucial part of their game on Tuesday as they committed no errors. UMass made easy catches and plays behind Bigelow which kept the game close and didn’t allow Dayton to add to its lead.

The area of the Minutemen’s game that hurt them, though, was being too aggressive at the plate. UMass batters finished the day with 11 strikeouts.

“Defensively we were excellent,” Reynolds said. “[Bigelow] was mature and held them down as long as he could. We were just overanxious with the bats [Tuesday], a little bit out front and just trying to do too much.”

The sixth inning was where scoring broke through, and the Minutemen benefited. Kevin Skagerlind started the offense output by getting on base with one out on an infield single. Mike Gervasi followed Skagerlind with a walk that put two runners on base for Carter Hanson. Hanson swung at the first pitch and as the ball floated to the outfield, no Dayton defender got to the ball. Gervasi scored to put the Minutemen up 1-0 for their only run of the game.

After Gervasi scored, Dayton switched out its pitcher to Nick Wissman with two outs in the sixth inning. Wissman struck out Matt Travisano, leaving two runners on base for the Minutemen.

“It was a really competitive baseball game,” Reynolds said. “We had our handful of chances; we were not swinging the bat very well and we had a chance with two runners in scoring position and we weren’t able to come through.”

UMass looks to keep its season alive on Wednesday, May 22 against No. 7 Saint Jospeh’s. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Capital One Park in Tysons, Virginia.

“Got to win, that’s it, we’ve got to win,” Reynolds said. “It’s win or go home time so we’ve got to empty the tank out and I thought the energy was fantastic [Tuesday], everything was good. The intensity was there, the defense was there. We’ve got to regroup and figure out who we’re going to go with [Wednesday] and give it everything we’ve got to just get to the next game at this point.”

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

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