Baseball Out-Duels La Salle, 2-1
April 5, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - A pair of timely hits by senior Tom Conley helped carry the UMass baseball team to a 2-1 win over La Salle in game one of the teams' Atlantic 10 series on Thursday afternoon at Earl Lorden Field. Junior Dennis Torres shut out the Explorers (15-14, 3-4 A-10) through seven as another strong performance by Minutemen pitching lifts UMass to 3-1 in conference play and 7-10 overall.
With the squads deadlocked in a scoreless battle in the bottom of the fifth after both teams had runners thrown out at the plate earlier in the contest, redshirt sophomore Ryan Cusick became UMass' first leadoff batter of the day to reach base. Cusick legged out a double to right on a ball that fell between three La Salle fielders and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Rob McLam. After the next batter, junior Anthony Serino, was retired, Conley shot a two-out single back up the middle to bring home Cusick, giving the Minutemen a 1-0 lead.
Back-to-back singles by Jeff Flax and Adam Kammler gave the Explorers runners on the corners with no outs in the top of the sixth, but Torres worked out of the jam by striking out two and inducing a pop up by Justin Korenblatt to escape the inning unscathed.
However, after two quick outs in the eighth, La Salle managed to tie the score at 1-1. Singles by Mark Schoch and Joe Bennie, followed by four-pitch walk to Jon Gyles, loaded the bases for Dan Klem. Klem knocked a 0-1 pitch back up the middle off of Torres for an infield hit that scored pinch runner Kevin Baron.
Senior Leif Sorenson then entered from the bullpen and, with a full count to George Smith, Jr., worked out of the jam with a weakly-hit ground ball to first.
UMass responded by taking the run back in its next trip to the plate. Conley dropped a leadoff double into the right field corner and redshirt freshman Adam Picard drove him in with a single up the middle.
Sorenson pitched a scoreless ninth to secure the win (1-2) as he allowed one hit and struck out one in 1.1 innings of relief. Torres tossed 7.2 innings in his start and struck out six, while walking two and holding the Explorers to one run on 10 hits.
Eric Van Wyk took the loss (3-3) for La Salle as he allowed two runs on nine hits and struck out five over seven innings.
Sophomore Dylan Begin finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate for the Minutemen, while Conley went 2-for-4 and accounted for both UMass runs, scoring once and driving in the other. For the Explorers, Klem hit 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The teams will be back in action tomorrow afternoon with game two of the series slated for 3 p.m. on Earl Lorden Field.