Baseball Knocks Off Nationally-Ranked Charlotte, 5-1
April 30, 2011
AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass baseball team used an all-around effort at the plate on the mound and in the field to knock off nationally-ranked Charlotte, 5-1, at Earl Lorden Field on Saturday afternoon to level the teams' Atlantic 10 series at 1-1. With the win, the Minutemen improve to 14-22 overall and 6-8 in conference play, while the 49ers, ranked #25 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll and #26 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper this week, suffer just their 10th loss of the season (33-10, 12-5 A-10).
For a second straight game against the Charlotte pitching staff that boasts the nation's top earned-run average, UMass managed to score early. Senior Matt Gedman drew a two-out walk to extend the first inning and the next batter, senior Peter Copa, roped a 1-2 pitch to right center for an RBI double.
The 49ers threatened to erase the Minutemen's slim lead with three singles in the top of the third, including two bunts for base hits. With the bases loaded and one out, Corey Shalor hit a come-backer to the mound that senior Charlie Benson was able to turn into a 1-2-3 double play to escape the inning unscathed.
After retiring Charlotte in order in the top of the fourth, UMass was able to manufacture a second run with just its second hit of the contest. Copa was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, moved to second on a sacrifice and came home on a double down the right field line by senior Kyle Multner.
The Minutemen then increased their advantage to 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth. Gedman opened up the inning by flaring a single into right, advanced to second on a sacrifice and later scored on a wild pitch.
In the top of the seventh, the 49ers managed to break up the shutout bid and had the potential tying runs in scoring position. J.J. Elseser sent a leadoff single into center and crossed the plate to put Charlotte on the board following back-to-back one-out singles by Justin Roland and Justin Wilson. After Shane Basen walked on five pitches, Benson induced a fly ball off the bat of Corey Shaylor that was hit to shallow right, holding Roland at third.
Coming in to relieve Benson, junior Leif Sorenson worked out of the jam by getting Corbin Shive to ground out on a 3-1 pitch to end the threat. Sorenson then cruised through the eighth and ninth without allowing a hit and struck out two on the way to his sixth save of the season and 11th of his career to become UMass' all-time saves leader.
The Minutemen tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth, courtesy of a two-out single to left by freshman Dylan Begin that plated Copa and Multner.
In his second start of the season, Benson logged the win (2-2) for UMass. He limited Charlotte to one run on eight hits in 6.2 innings on the hill, walked four and struck out one. Corey Roberts took the loss (7-2) for the 49ers as he allowed three runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts, lasting six innings in his outing.
Gedman was 2-for-3 on the day with two runs scored for the Minutemen and Copa went 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI. Begin collected a pair of RBI, as well, contributing to the team's total of seven hits on the afternoon.
Wilson finished 3-for-5 at the plate and logged the 49ers' only RBI of the contest, while Miguel Rodriguez went 2-for-4.
UMass and Charlotte will play the rubber game of its weekend series tomorrow, May 1, at noon on Earl Lorden Field.