Baseball Drops Home Opener To Holy Cross, 4-3
March 27, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass baseball's relievers gave up just one hit in the final seven innings of the squad's home opener on Tuesday, but Holy Cross scored four times on six hits in the opening two frames to edge the Minutemen, 4-3. Following the setback, UMass is now 4-8 on the season, while the Crusaders improve to 11-9.
After Minutemen starter Andrew Grant fanned Mike Ahmed to open the contest, Alex Maldonado legged out an infield single, stole second and scored on a single through the right side by Patrick Puentes. Puentes later crossed the plate on a two-out RBI single to center by Chris Sintetos for Holy Cross' second run.
In their first trip to the plate, UMass promptly tied the score at 2-2. Sophomore Rob McLam reached on an error with one away, moved to second on a single through the left side by junior Anthony Serino and to third on a wild pitch. Senior Tom Conley brought in McLam with a sacrifice fly, while Serino scored on the same play after an errant throw to third sailed into the home dugout.
The Crusaders responded by beginning the top of the second with back-to-back base hits off the bats of Steven Tkowski and Brandon Cipolla, a single to center and a double to the right field corner, respectively. Then with one away, Evan Ocello came through with a two-run single to center to put Holy Cross back in front, 4-2.
With junior Rich Graef on second after reaching with a bunt single and redshirt sophomore Ryan Cusick on first via a fielder's choice, a successful double steal by the Minutemen put both runners in scoring position. After McLam was hit by a pitch to load the bases, a sacrifice fly by Serino brought UMass to within a run.
However, Holy Cross' Donny Murray escaped any further damage by inducing a fly ball of the bat of Conley to end the threat and went on to record the victory (1-0). Murray allowed three runs, one earned, on seven hits with two strikeouts and did not walk a batter in 4.2 innings on the hill.
Grant took the loss (0-1) for UMass as he let up four runs on six hits in two innings of work, walked one and struck out two. Conor LeBlanc, Tim Cassidy, Ryan Lubreski, Ben Hart and Ron Wallace followed up with seven shutout innings and allowed just one hit, a leadoff single by Tkowski in the fourth.
Graef finished the contest 2-for-3 at the plate for UMass with a run scored, extending his hitting streak to six games, while redshirt freshman Adam Picard hit 2-for-4. Tkowski was the lone Crusader to tally multiple hits, going 2-for-4 on the afternoon.
UMass continues its eight-game homestand this Saturday, Mar. 31, with a doubleheader vs. Albany slated to begin at noon at Earl Lorden Field.