Baseball Falls To La Salle 9-8
March 29, 2003
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The University of Massachusetts baseball team was defeated by La Salle 9-8 in game one of a scheduled doubleheader at Hank DeVincent Field. The host Explorers (5-9, 4-0) and the Minutemen (4-9, 1-3) had game two suspended due to heavy rain showers in the bottom of the fifth inning. The contest, which UMass leads by a 4-2 count with two outs and a La Salle runner on first base, is tentatively slated to be made up at 12 Noon Sunday, before the teams play a nine-inning contest to round out their three-game series.
Massachusetts got on the board with two quick runs to start the first game of the afternoon, as Curt Szado's (1-for-2, 3 RBI) double to left-center gave his team a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
However, the Explorers wasted little time in evaporating the deficit in their half of the inning. Sophomore right fielder Ryan Parfitt sent Matt Torra's (4.2 IP, 5 H, 8 R - 6 ER, 5 BB, 3K) first pitch of the afternoon over the left-field fence, before a double down the left-field line by junior shortstop John Snyder (2-for-3, 5 RBI) scored Eric Ruhland and Brian Oakes to put the hosts up 3-2.
Matt Boulanger's second home run of the season in the top of the third brought the Minutemen even with La Salle, 3-3. However, Oakes (2-for-4, 2 R, seven-game hitting streak) belted his team-leading third home run of the season to left-center field in the bottom of the inning to give the Explorers a 4-3 advantage.
The visitors tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, giving UMass a 5-4 lead. After Jason Twomley (3-for-3, 2 R, SF) reached on a one-out single up the middle, Mike Athas (2-for-4, 3 R, 2 RBI) sent a two-run homer, his second round-tripper of the season, to left-center field.
Though the Explorers only got one hit, they crossed the dish four times in the top of the fifth inning to take an 8-5 advantage. Parfitt and sophomore Phil Marino drew back-to-back walks to start the inning, and moved up one base apiece on a sacrifice bunt by senior Steve Harris. Ruhland (two runs) and junior Scott Gehringer were issued one-out walks, allowing Parfitt to score to knot the score at 5-all. After Scott Ratliff came on in relief of Torra, John Snyder smacked his second double down the left field line of the afternoon, clearing the bases and giving the hosts a 3-run lead.
UMass chased La Salle junior starting pitcher Bryan Harvey (2-2 record; 5+ IP, 9 H, 7 R - 5 earned, 2 BB, 3 K) from the contest with back-to-back singles in the top of the sixth frame. Ruhland, who earned his third save of the Atlantic 10 season this afternoon, walked the bases loaded and made the score 8-6 in La Salle's favor after hitting Jeff Altieri with a two-out pitch. The Explorers lead was cut to 8-7 after Szado's walk forced Athas across the plate, before Ruhland could get out of the jam with a strikeout.
Parfitt scored what wound up being a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to give La Salle a 9-7 lead. After a lead-off double to right-center field, he moved up to third on a foul-out to right field by Marino. Parfitt then scored on a sacrifice fly by Harris, who saw his seven-game hitting streak snapped with an 0-for-2 effort at the dish.
Massachusetts pinch-hitter Sean Sarno pinch-hit to start the seventh inning, and singled to right field. After stealing second base, Sarno later moved to third on a deep flyout to center by catcher Tom Ellerbrook (2-for-4). Twomley then lofted a sacrifice fly to center field to cut the La Salle lead to 9-8, but Ruhland (2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) got Athas to fly out to center field to end the game.