Minutemen Knock Off Holy Cross, 8-5
April 6, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts baseball team (8-7) knocked off Holy Cross (3-14-1) this afternoon in the home-opener at Lorden Field, 8-5. Trailing, 5-3, in the bottom of the eighth, the Minutmen scored five runs including a three-run home run by junior Curt Szado (Monson, Mass.) which proved to be the game-winner.
Having not played in a week, UMass seized the opportunity in allowing multiple pitchers get some work in against live batting. Senior starter Eric Chown (Fall River, Mass.) notched the longest UMass outing of the day as he went two innings, striking out two. He left with the Minutemen ahead, 3-0, as an error, sac fly and an RBI ground out accounted for the UMass scoring.
Sophomore Matt Torra (Pittsfield, Mass.) entered the game in the third inning and allowed three runs knotting the score at 3-3. Junior Keith Doherty (Quincy, Mass.) came in for the fourth inning and allowed just a hit, but no runs keeping his ERA at a scant 0.00 on the season. Junior Mike Crane (Braintree, Mass.) hurled the fifth frame and allowed the Crusaders to take the lead, 4-3, with a couple of wild pitches and a pair of singles.
The Crusaders advantage would grow in the sixth inning as UMass sophomore Jeremy Demers (Easthampton, Mass.) was responsible for a pair of hits that were sandwiched around a wild pitch. Holy Cross led 5-3 heading into the seventh.
While UMass was going through pitchers like ice on a hot summer day, Crusaders freshman starter Scott Hampe (Dedham, Mass.) was on cruise control retiring 18 of the 21 batters he faced, at one point. Hampe, who was making his first collegiate start, retired the side in order twice, faced the minimum three batters three times, and held UMass, (who entered the game with a .313 team batting average,) to just four hits through the first seven innings of the contest.
But the Minutemen would rally as junior Jason Twomley (Fitchburg, Mass.) led off the bottom of the eight inning with a blast onto the new addition of the Mullins Center practice rink, christining the facade in style. Following an out, sophomore Frank Curreri (Weymouth, Mass.) doubled to left field, then moved to third on a wild pitch that also allowing senior first baseman Matt Reynolds (South Boston, Mass.), who struck out on the play, to reach first base safely. Szado followed with his three-run blast down the rightfield line knocking Hampe out of the game, and spoiling what might have been his second win of the season.
Keeping the Crusaders at bay for the seventh and eighth innings were sophomore Anthony Gallo (Peabody, Mass.) and classmate David Sullivan (Winchester, Mass.) who each allowed one hit in their inning of work. Sullivan, being the pitcher of record entering the bottom of the eighth inning, picked up his first win of the season, also the first of his career.
Things got dicey in the ninth as junior Scott Ratliff (Helendale, Calif.) got two outs, but issued three walks in the process, including two back-to-back. Enter in freshman Devin Barnett (New Orleans, La.) with the bases loaded and two outs. The rookie fired a trio of strikes earning a strikeout to end the game, and marking the first save of his collegiate career. The performance came on the heels of his first collegiate win, seven days earlier.
UMass baseball returns to action this weekend as it travels to Dayton for an Atlantic 10 Conference series of contests. A twin bill on Saturday, April 17 beginning at 12:00 p.m., will be followed by a single contest on Sunday, April 18 beginning at 12:00 p.m.