Conley's 12th Inning Double Gives UMass 5-4 Win Over Temple
April 29, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - Freshman Paul Yanakopulos scored the tying run with the Minutemen down to their final out and senior Tom Conley came through with an RBI double in the 12th to lift the UMass baseball team to a 5-4 victory over Temple in extra innings on Sunday afternoon at Earl Lorden Field. With the win, the Minutemen level their record at 16-16 overall and improve to 9-6 in the Atlantic 10, while the Owls fall to 16-27 on the year and 4-11 in conference games.
UMass took a 1-0 lead in the third after the leadoff batter, sophomore Nick Sanford, was hit by a pitch. Junior Rich Graef sacrificed him over to second, while another ground ball moved Sanford to third. With a two-out single through the left side, sophomore Kyle Adie drove in the run and extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games.
A bit of misfortune for the Minutemen led to a big inning for Temple in the fifth as the Owls scored four and sent 10 to the plate to climb on top, 4-1. Jabair Khan opened up the frame with a double to right, while Matt Elko was hit by a pitch and Allen Stiles reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt to load the bases with no outs. Foster Dunigan sent a single through the left side to tie the score at 1-1 and Steve Nikorak drew a bases loaded walk to put Temple in front. The next batter, Nick Lustrino, dropped a RBI single into right before UMass managed to record the first out on a force at the plate. Then, on a ground ball up the middle, the ball hit umpire Rick Emerson, resulting in an RBI single for Henry Knabe for the Owls' fourth run.
Undeterred, Minutemen hurler Joe Popielarczyk proceeded to strike out the next two batters looking to prevent any further damage. The right-hander worked 2.2 additional scoreless innings and finished the day with 7.2 innings on the hill, four runs, three earned, on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
UMass pulled to within 4-2 of Temple in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Dylan Begin reached on a dropped fly ball to right fielder Elijah Yarborough, advanced to second on a single through the left side by Sanford and came home on a two-out hit to left by redshirt sophomore Ryan Cusick.
Begin later kick-started the Minutemen's rally in the ninth with a single up the middle. A muffed catch on a ball hit to deep center by pinch hitter Alex Tuneski gave UMass two on with no outs. Then with Begin and Tuneski lifted for pinch runners Jeff Cavanaro and Paul Yanakopulos, Graef dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the pair to second and third. Cusick's fly ball to right brought in Cavanaro, while Yanakopulos scored the tying run from second on a throw to first that pulled Elko off the bag with two outs and allowed Adie to reach.
In the bottom of the 12th, junior Anthony Serino flared a one-out single into left and scored the winning run when the next batter, Conley, drove a first-pitch fast ball into the gap in right center for a double.
Junior Ron Wallace tossed 4.1 scoreless innings of relief to log the win (2-0) for the Minutemen. He allowed just two hits, both singles, did not walk a batter and fanned two.
Brian Sustersic took the loss (2-5) for Temple as he let up three runs, one earned, on two hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Adie and Serino, both 2-for-6 on the afternoon, combined for four of UMass' nine hits, while Cusick drove in two.
For the Owls, Knabe (2-for-6), Juran (2-for-6), Elko (2-for-3) and Dunigan (2-for-5) all had multiple hits as the squad finished with 10 on the afternoon.
The Minutemen break from their homestand for a trip to Quinnipiac on Tuesday, May 1, set for a 3 p.m. start in Hamden, Conn.