Minutemen Outdueled By #18 UCF, 2-1
March 11, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - The UMass baseball team held a 1-0 lead through four-and-a-half, but #18 UCF pushed across runs in the fifth and seventh to take the series finale, 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field. With its second one-run loss of the weekend the Minutemen fall to 0-3 to start 2012, while the Knights improve to 13-4.
After putting runners in scoring position in the first two innings, but not being able to plate a run, UMass manufactured the first of the contest in the top of the third. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Cusick dropped a leadoff single into center, stole second and was sacrificed over to third to set up an RBI groundout by sophomore Dylan Begin.
Starter Joe Popielarczyk allowed just one runner past first base through the first 4.1 innings, but UCF managed to tie the score at 1-1 with back-to-back doubles by Nick Carrillo and Ronnie Richardson with one away in the bottom of the fifth.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, D.J. Hicks came through with a two-out RBI single through the right side of the infield to put the Knights on top, 2-1. Carrillo, who led off the frame with a single, came home on the play after moving to third with a sacrifice bunt and an infield hit off the bat of Travis Shreve.
Upon returning to the field, Shreve prevented the tying run from coming home for UMass in the top of the eighth. The UCF second baseman robbed senior Tom Conley of a base hit that would have scored sophomore Nick Sanford from third, ending the inning with an acrobatic grab.
Popielarczyk did not factor into the decision in his start, but pitched a solid 5.1 innings for the Minutemen, limiting the Knights to one run on six hits, walking three and striking out two. Freshman Tim Cassidy took the loss (0-1) for UMass after allowing one run on two hits in one inning on the hill.
Roman Madrid threw two perfect innings of relief for UCF to collect the win (2-1), while Joe Rodgers recorded the save (4). Rodgers pitched a scoreless ninth, allowed one hit and struck out one.
Cusick was the lone Minuteman to log multiple hits on the afternoon, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored, a walk and three stolen bases. Carrillo, Chris Taladay and James Vasquez all batted 2-for-4 for the Knights with Carrillo scoring both runs.
UMass will be back in action on Tuesday, Mar. 13, slated to play at Hartford at 3 p.m.