La Salle Rallies Past UMass Baseball, 9-7

Senior Rich Graef was 3-for-4 on Saturday at La Salle.

Senior Rich Graef was 3-for-4 on Saturday at La Salle.

April 20, 2013

Box Score

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The UMass baseball team held a 7-4 lead going into the bottom of the eighth, but La Salle managed to plate five runs in the inning to rally past the Minutemen, 9-7 on Saturday afternoon at DeVincent Field. Following the loss, UMass sits at 9-20 overall, 3-8 in Atlantic 10 games, while the Explorers improve to 17-19 and 10-4 in the conference.

The Minutemen began the day with a 1-0 lead, pushing across the first run of the contest in the top of the second. Junior Dylan Begin drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a two-out triple to left center off the bat of freshman John Jennings.

La Salle responded in the bottom of the frame with a two-run double by Ryan Welling that drove in Mark Williams and Joey Ravert.

UMass tied things up at 2-2 in its next turn at bat as redshirt junior Ryan Cusick opened up the third with a single to left, moved up on a wild pitch, went to third on a sacrifice and came in on an RBI groundout by junior Rob McLam.

The Minutemen then climbed back on top, scoring two in the fourth and three in the fifth to build a 7-2 advantage. Begin led off the fourth with a solo home run to right center, while junior Kellen Pagel reached on an error and crossed the plate on an RBI single by Jennings.

In the fifth, a pair of singles by Cusick and Graef started the frame and chased Explorers' starter Shawn O'Neill from the contest. Graef's bunt single brought in Cusick after he stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Graef scored as an errant throw in an attempt to get McLam at first sailed down the right field line. McLam, who went all the way to third on the play, crossed the plate for the squad's seventh run on a sacrifice fly by redshirt sophomore Adam Picard.



However, the Explorers went on to score seven unanswered, first cutting into the UMass lead with another two-run double from Welling in the bottom of the sixth. Welling later drove in the tying run, as well, with a double in eighth. Collin McGowan then put La Salle in front, 9-7, with a two-out, two RBI single to center.

Starter Jordan Pace took the loss (3-4) for the Minutemen. He allowed eight runs on 12 hits with one walk and one strikeout. Explorers' reliever Austin Clark picked up the win (2-1) as he limited UMass to one unearned run on three hits over four innings with one walk and three strikeouts. Pat Chistensen retired the side in order in the ninth to collect the save (7).

Graef (3-for-5), Cusick (3-for-4), Begin (2-for-3) and Jennings (2-for-3) combined for UMass' 10 hits on the day. Jennings drove in two, while both Cusick and Begin each scored a pair.

Welling's 4-for-4 showing at the plate paced La Salle as he finished with five RBI. Ravert went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, while McGowan drove in two and was 2-for-4 on the afternoon.

The teams will close out the weekend series tomorrow, Apr. 21, at noon.

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