Tennessee Edges UMass Baseball, 6-4
March 2, 2013
CARY, N.C. - Eight UMass batters combined for 13 hits, but a two-run fifth made the difference for Tennessee, who edged the Minutemen, 6-4 at the USA Baseball Training Complex on Saturday afternoon. Following the setback, UMass is 0-2 to start the season, while the Volunteers improve to 4-6 overall.
Tennessee plated the first run of the afternoon in the top of the first. With two away, Will Maddox drew a four-pitch walk, stole second and scored on an RBI single to center by Scott Price.
The Volunteers then added three more two-out runs in their next trip to the plate. Zach Luther started things off with a double down the left field line that plated Parker Wormsley. After Taylor Smart was hit by a pitch, A.J. Simcox and Maddox staked Tennessee to a 4-0 lead with back-to-back RBI singles.
In the bottom half of the second inning, the Minutemen halved their deficit. Following a single through the left side by senior Rich Graef and a walk to junior Nick Sanford, two straight two-out RBI singles by redshirt junior Ryan Cusick and senior Anthony Serino brought the score to 4-2.
UMass pulled level with the Volunteers in the third, once again knocking in a pair with two away. Junior Nik Campero led off with a single to center, stole second and, following a walk to freshman Brandon Walsh, moved to third on a single to center by Graef. Campero crossed the plate on a single to left by sophomore Paul Yanakopulos and Walsh came in on a bases loaded walk to Cusick.
Blake Thomas then relieved the starter Andy Cox and quelled the rally, though, retiring Serino to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, a pair of Tennessee bunts brought in the runs that made the difference. David Houser drew a one-out walk and a double down the left field line by the next batter, Pierce Bily, gave the Volunteers a pair of runners in scoring position. A bunt single by Wormsley then drove in the go-ahead run and a sacrifice bunt by Jason Manis provided insurance.
Tennessee's bullpen logged six innings of shutout relief, holding off the Minutemen in the remainder of the contest. Thomas earned the win (1-0) after working two innings without allowing a run on three hits. Charpie pitched the final two frames for the Volunteers and collected the save (1) after letting up one hit, walking one and striking out one.
For UMass, sophomore Conor LeBlanc started and took the loss (0-1) after surrendering six runs on eight hits, walking three and striking out three. Senior Jordan Pace threw the remaining 4.1 innings and limited Tennessee to one hit while recording six strikeouts to just one walk.
Graef led the Minutemen at the plate, finishing the day 3-for-5 with a run scored. Campero and redshirt sophomore Adam Picard were both 2-for-5 on the afternoon and Cusick logged a pair of RBI. Yanakopulos hit 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
UMass will close out its weekend at the Irish Baseball Classic tomorrow afternoon, Mar. 3, against Ohio at 1 p.m.