Five-Run Fifth Helps Baseball Down Maine, 11-5
April 25, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - On the back of 14 hits and a big fifth inning, the UMass baseball team downed Maine, 11-5 at Earl Lorden Field on Wednesday afternoon. After posting a double-digit run total for a second straight game, the Minutemen move their record above .500 for the first time this season at 15-14. Following the setback, the Black Bears are now 21-17 on the year.
Maine began the contest with a triple down the right field line by leadoff batter Michael Fransoso and an RBI groundout from Colin Gay put the Black Bears on top, 1-0.
With one away in the third, however, UMass took advantage of three straight four-pitch walks to redshirt sophomore Ryan Cusick, sophomore Kyle Adie and senior Anthony Serino. With the bases loaded, senior Tom Conley dropped a two-run single into right. Then, following a single to left by sophomore Alex Tuneski, sophomore Nik Campero brought in Serino with a sacrifice fly to increase the Minutemen lead to 3-1.
The Black Bears did manage to pull even with UMass in the top of the fourth, though. Three straight two out hits--a single to left by Fran Whitten, a triple to center by Justin Leisenheimer and an infield single by Sam Balzano--yielded two runs for Maine and tied the score at 3-3.
But after going down in order in the bottom half of the inning, the Minutemen erupted for five runs on five hits in the fifth. Cusick led off with a double and crossed the plate on a single to left by Aide. After Aide stole two bases, Conley drove him home with a single to left. A bases loaded walk to sophomore Nick Sanford forced in an run and Tuneski came in on a wild pitch before junior Rich Graef came up with an infield single to plate Campero and cap off the scoring.
UMass followed up by tacking on insurance runs in its next three turns at bat. In the sixth, Adie led off with a single, stole second and scored on an RBI single to center by Tuneski.
A two-run homer by Fransoso in the seventh brought Maine back to within four of the Minutemen at 9-5, but the Black Bears would not draw any closer. UMass expanded the lead back out to six with an RBI single by Graef in the bottom half of the inning and a solo home run by Tuneski in the eighth, his first of his career.
Freshman Conor LeBlanc started on the mound for the Minutemen and collected the win to improve to 4-0 on the season. He was responsible for all five runs, surrendered on nine hits, and tossed 6.1 innings. Whitten worked two innings of relief for the Black Bears and took the loss (2-2) after allowing three runs on three hits and striking out two.
Tuneski reached base in all five trips to the plate for UMass, drawing two walks and going 3-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Conley finished the afternoon 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored, while Adie was 2-for-4 with three stolen bases, three runs scored and an RBI. Graef was the fifth Minuteman with a multi-hit effort, going 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Fransoso (3-for-5) and Balzano (3-for-4) combined for six of Maine's 11 hits in the contest. Fransoso drove in two and scored twice, as well.
UMass continues its stretch of four straight home games this weekend when the squad will play host to Temple in an Atlantic 10 series. Game one against the Owls is set for 3 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 27.