Coach Stone Secures Win No. 500
March 7, 2004
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - The University of Massachusetts baseball team (2-0) opened the 2004 season by sweeping a non-conference double header with a pair of wins over Rider (1-5) this afternoon at Richard F. Daly, field winning the first game 6-5 and the second game 15-2. UMass head coach Mike Stone picked up career win No. 500 with the Game 1 decision to pad a career total which ranks him as the winningest active Division I head coach in New England.
In game 1, the Minutemen got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning as sophomore catcher Frank Curreri (Weymouth, Mass.) knocked a two-out RBI single to center field scoring senior second baseman Cullan Maumus (New Orleans, La.), who had doubled earlier in the inning.
UMass would plate a run in both the second and third innings, using RBI doubles from junior outfielder Derrick Durepo (Ware, Mass.) and senior captain first baseman Matt Reynolds (South Boston, Mass.) to light the scoreboard, staking the Minutemen a 3-0 lead. But Rider would come back with a run in its half of the third and the fourth to make it 3-2, a score which would hold until the seventh frame. A wild pitch allowed senior designated hitter Sean Sarno (Stoneham, Mass.) to score, increasing the UMass lead to 4-2 in the top of the seventh. Rider would come up with a couple of hits and a run in its half of the seventh to close the gap to one, 4-3, but UMass tallied a run in each of the last three innings to hold on to the win.
Curreri got his second RBI of the afternoon, and what proved to be the game-winner, as he lifted an RBI single to center field. He finished the day 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and two walks. Senior righthanded pitcher Eric Chown (Fall River, Mass.) got the opening day win (1-0) scattering 10 hits over seven innings while striking out six and allowing just three runs, all earned. Sophomore lefty Scott Ratliff (Helendale, Calif.) closed out the last two innings totaling three strikeouts and stranding the tying run on second base for his first save of the season.
In the second game, UMass was all over Broncs starter Mike Rakoczy as the Minutemen batted around and scored seven runs in the first inning. While only five of the runs were earned, an RBI-double from junior outfielder Jason Twomley (Fitchburg, Mass.), a two-run double from senior third baseman Adam Stojanowski (West Roxbury, Mass.) and an RBI double from Durepo, were all attributed to the pitching, and knocked Rakoczy out of the game.
Meanwhile, sophomore righthander Matt Torra (Pittsfield, Mass.) went six innings for the win (1-0), allowing just four hits and facing the minimum nine batters through the first three innings. The only blemish on Torra's day came in the bottom of the sixth as senior Scott Rich hit a two-out, two-run home run to right field. Junior Mike Crane (Braintree, Mass.) closed the door with a 1-2-3 seventh to wrap up the victory.
Offensively, Reynolds led the hit parade with a pair, including a two-run homer to left center in the fifth and four RBI. Twomley added two hits, including a double, while Stojanowski tallied three hits, all doubles to go along with three RBI and three runs scored. Durepo had four hits and three RBI out of the nine spot in the line up as the Minutemen totaled 18 hits, their highest since an 18-hit barrage against Fairfield on April 10, 2003.
With the win, UMass starts the year 2-0 for the first time since 1993 and looks for its first 3-0 beginning to a season since 1988. That year, the first under the direction of Mike Stone, the Minutemen started off 4-0.
UMass baseball returns to action with a trio of games at South Florida this weekend. The series kicks off Friday night with a 7:00 p.m. game at Red McEwen Field in Tampa, Fla.