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UMass basketball head coach Derek Kellogg will be the featured guest at Thursday's Valley Blue Sox game when he throws out the first pitch. The Blue Sox will be hosting the Plymouth Pilgrims with a 6:30 p.m. start at Mackenzie Stadium (500 Beech Street, Holyoke, Mass.).

This will be the first-ever first pitch opportunity for the right hander from Springfield.

The New England Collegiate baseball league opened last night with current UMass catcher Tom Conley helping the Keene Swamp Bats to a 7-0 win in a rain-shortened contest against the Vermont Mountaineers. Conley hit fifth in the order and was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

On the day his younger brother was drafted, former Minuteman hurler Mike Gedman unfortunately took the loss for the Worcester Tornadoes after walking the leadoff hitter on a 3-2 pitch in the eighth inning vs. Chad Paronto's Pittsfield Colonials. The Colonials rallied for a 6-4 win.

Finally, Matt Torra will be on the bump tonight as the Reno Aces open a four-game series against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Torra will put his 4-0 record on the line against Sky Sox RHP Esmil Rogers (0-0, No ERA), who is on a Major League rehab assignment.
With the New England Collegiate Baseball League kicking off its season tonight, summer ball is getting underway. Several of the Minutemen will be starting action over the next few days.

In the NECBL, junior catcher Tom Conley will be returning for a second stint with the Keene Swamp Bats. They open tonight vs. the Vermont Mountaineers in Keene, N.H., at 6:30 p.m.

Freshman shortstop Josh Messier is also playing in the NECBL for the New Bedford Bay Sox. New Bedford begins its season this Friday, June 10, on the road against the Sanford Mainers.

Freshman outfielder Kyle Adie will be a part of the inaugural season of the Futures League, playing for the the Nashua Silver Knights, who open up on Friday on the road vs. the Torrington Titans.

Sophomore Aaron Zaleznik is beginning his second season with the Elmira Pioneers of the newly-formed Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. The right hander will begin his summer with the Pioneers tomorrow night, Thursday, Jun. 9, as the squad hosts the Cooperstown Hawkeyes.

Clegg Mentioned In SteepleCats Pro Alumni Update

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Former UMass hurler Mitchell Clegg is mentioned in this piece from on the North Adams SteepleCats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the team's 74 alumni who have gone on to play professionally.

Clegg, who played for the SteepleCats in the Summer of 2008, is 2-3 in eight starts for the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League.

Conley And Fredette Close Out Summer League Seasons

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For a pair of Minutemen, Tom Conley and Eric Fredette, the summer league seasons came to a close last night as their respective teams dropped decisive game threes last night in the NECBL playoffs. The Keene Swamp Bats fell, 10-5, to the North Adams SteepleCats with Conley going 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk at DH before finishing the game behind the plate after an injury to the squad's starting catcher. Fredette had one of Bristol's three hits, batting 1-for-3, as Bristol Collegiate was was edged by the Danbury Westerners, 2-0. The lone UMass player still in action this summer, Aaron Zaleznik, has helped his team, the Elmira Pioneers, advance to the NYCBL Championship series against the Amsterdam Mohawks. Game one of the best-of-three championship series is slated for Friday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m.

Fredette Has Great Night At The Plate For Bristol

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UMass second baseman Eric Fredette had an outstanding night at the plate for Bristol Collegiate in the squad's playoff game against Danbury. Fredette was 3-for-3 with two walks and a run scored, though the rest of the team had just two hits combined. Danbury came out on top, 5-3, to force a decisive game three in the series.

Minutemen In NECBL Playoffs

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The first round of the NECBL playoffs began last night for a pair of Minutemen whose teams advanced to the postseason. Catcher Tom Conley and the Keene Swamp Bats defeated North Adams, 2-1 last night in North Adams, Mass., Game 1 of the best-of-three series. Conley went 1-for-4 in the DH slot. Second baseman Eric Fredette's team, Bristol Collegiate, won its game against Danbury, 5-2.

Gedman Shows Off Versatility For Lowell

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On Tuesday, UMass' Matt Gedman played all nine positions and picked up a save in the process as the Lowell All-Americans defeated the North Adams Steeple Cats, 3-2. With two outs in the ninth inning, after Gedman had played each position, Coach Jeff Kane walked to the mound and moved Gedman from first base to the pitcher's mound. Reliever Brenden Shepard moved to first base and Gedman induced a fly ball to left field to end the game and pick up the save. The feat that Gedman accomplished was a very rare one. The NECBL does not keep track of those stats, but the last time it was accomplished in Major League Baseball was in 2000.

Popielarczyk Picks Up Win In First Outing With Holyoke

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After just recently joining the Holyoke Blue Sox roster, local product Joe Popielarczyk picked up the victory for Holyoke yesterday in a 13-4 win over the Lowell All-Americans, squaring off against fellow Minutemen Matt Gedman and Leif Sorenson. Popielarczyk pitched 5.2 innings of relief and gave up just one run.