UMass' Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short In 9-8 Loss At Davidson
March 9, 2014
DAVIDSON, N.C. - UMass baseball scored six times in the ninth inning, but the late rally fell just short in a 9-8 loss at Davidson on Sunday afternoon at Wilson Field. Following the setback, the Minutemen are now 1-8 to start the year, while the Wildcats level their record at 6-6.
Davidson took an early lead in the contest, scoring in the bottom of the first. David Daniels dropped a one-out double into right field and Forrest Brandt drove him in with a double to left with two away in the frame.
The Wildcats then pushed the lead to 7-0, putting up runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, including home runs from Nathan Becker and Brandt.
UMass took two of the runs back in the top of the seventh. Senior Nick Sanford and sophomore Vinny Scifo reached with consecutive one-out singles and advanced to second and third on a ground ball by redshirt junior Kyle Adie. With two outs, and the pair in scoring position, junior Paul Yanakopulos picked up his first two RBI of the day with a single through the left side.
Davidson, however, responded with a two-run bottom of the eighth to move the score to 9-2. Daniels reached with his second double of the afternoon, while Brandt and Becker logged consecutive two-out RBIs with a double and a single, respectively.
The Minutemen then made a strong push at a comeback, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring six runs on six hits in the top of the ninth. Sanford began the rally with a single to right, while pinch hitter Kellen Pagel and Adie followed by drawing walks to load the bases for Yanakopulos who sent a two-run single up the middle. Sophomore John Jennings' double to left center scored Adie and closed the gap to 9-5. Senior Dylan Begin's two-run single brought UMass within 9-7 and classmate Nik Campero's RBI double to right made it a one-run game.
The Wildcats escaped without any further damage, though. Despite allowing a two-out infield single by sophomore Brandon Walsh that moved the would-be tying run to third, Matt Saeta induced a pop up off the bat of Sanford to end the contest and earn the save (3).
Senior Aaron Plunkett started on the mound for the Minutemen and took the loss (0-2). He allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts over five innings. Nick Neitzel picked up the win for Davidson (2-0) after tossing six shutout innings and limiting UMass to two hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Yanakopulos paced the Minutemen's bats on the afternoon, going 2-for-5 at the plate with a career-best four RBI and one run scored. Campero (2-for-4) and Sanford (2-for-5) both finished the contest with multiple hits, as well. Sanford scored twice and Begin registered two RBI.
Brandt led the charge for the Wildcats offensively, going 4-for-4 at the dish with five RBI and three runs scored. Becker hit 2-for-5 with three RBI and scored once.
UMass returns to action next Saturday, March 15, when the squad will open its second weekend series of the season against Army in Tampa, Fla., with game one of a doubleheader set to begin at Noon.
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