McLam, Minutemen Rally Past Hartford, 8-7
March 13, 2012
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Sophomore Rob McLam's two-run single in the top of the eighth helped lift the UMass baseball team to its first victory of 2012 as the Minutemen claimed a 8-7 win over Hartford on Tuesday afternoon at Fiondella Field. Following the victory, UMass is now 1-3 on the year, while the Hawks fall to 1-11.
McLam finished the day 3-for-3 with two stolen bases and three RBI to pace the Minutemen, while redshirt freshman Adam Picard hit his first career home run, driving in two. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Cusick stole three bases for a second straight game and batted 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored. Junior Rich Graef (2-for-5) scored twice and classmate Anthony Serino drove in a pair.
Cusick began the afternoon for UMass by drawing a four-pitch walk, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on an RBI groundout by Serino to give the Minutemen a 1-0 lead.
Then in the bottom half of the first, Hartford climbed on top, 3-1. A pair of singles by Trey Stover and James Alfonso set up a two-run double to left center off the bat of Andy Drexel. Brian Hunter then traded places with Drexel on a double to left.
Cusick brought UMass back to within a run of the Hawks in the top of the third as he swiped two bags after reaching with a single and once again scored on a ground ball off the bat of Serino.
The Hawks pushed the margin back to two, though, in their next trip to the plate. Drexel drew a leadoff walk and later crossed the plate on a single through the right side by Simon Kudernatsch.
UMass then pulled in front with one swing of the bat in the fourth. After senior Tom Conley was hit by a pitch, Picard lofted a two-run homer to left to bring the score to 5-4.
In the bottom of the fifth, Hartford pulled level with the Minutemen after capitalizing on a pair of UMass miscues. Kudernatsch reached on an error and later scored on an error.
The Minutemen regained their one-run lead in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Nick Sanford walked and scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Cusick after moving up on two wild pitches.
Then with two away in the bottom of the seventh, Hartford pulled in front, 7-6. Hunter drew a leadoff walk and crossed the plate on an RBI triple by Brady Sheetz. Ryan Lukach followed with a single up the middle to send in the go-ahead run.
The lead was brief, though, as UMass answered with a pair in the top of the eighth. Graef knocked a one-out single up the middle and Cusick doubled to left. McLam then drove in the pair with a two-run single.
That was all the Minutemen needed to secure the win as senior Leif Sorenson closed out the game with two scoreless innings and struck out two to log his first save of the season. Junior Ron Wallace recorded one out in the seventh and picked up the victory (1-0).
Freddy Andujar took the loss (0-1) for Hartford after allowing one run on two hits with one walk and one strikeout in 1.2 innings on the hill.
Alfonso paced the Hawks with a 3-for-5 afternoon at the plate and scored once. Stover went 2-for-5 with a run scored and Drexel registered two RBI and scored twice.
UMass will be back in action on Saturday, Mar. 17, playing the first of a three-game series at Old Dominion beginning