Baseball Takes Down Temple, 11-9 In Season Finale
May 18, 2013
AMBLER, Pa. - The UMass baseball team scored five runs early and held off a late-inning rally by Temple to complete the series sweep of the Owls with an 11-9 victory at Skip Wilson Field on Saturday afternoon. Following the win in the season finale, the Minutemen finish the year at 14-31 overall and 7-17 in the Atlantic 10.
UMass never trailed in any of its three games against Temple (18-28, 7-17 A-10) on the weekend and picked up its first conference series sweep on the road since 2007 at Dayton.
The Minutemen capitalized on an Owls' miscue the top of the first to open the contest with a 2-0 advantage. Senior Rich Graef reached on an error with one away and junior Rob McLam followed with a double down the left field line. Junior Dylan Begin brought in Graef with a sacrifice fly and junior Nik Campero doubled in McLam.
UMass increased the lead to 5-0 in the third. Redshirt Junior Ryan Cusick and Graef began the frame with a single and a walk, respectively, and were moved into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt from McLam. Campero plated the pair with a two-out, two-run single and scored the squad's fifth run on a single up the middle by junior Kellen Pagel.
Temple got on the board with a solo homer from Daniel Dragos in the bottom of the fifth, but the Minutemen promptly took the run back the following inning. Pagel hustled out an infield hit, moved into scoring position courtesy of a sacrifice bunt and came home on a single to left by freshman John Jennings.
In the bottom of the sixth, Owls once again trimmed their deficit to four as doubles from Matt Elko and Derek Peterson produced the squad's second run of the afternoon.
However, UMass gained more breathing room with a three-run seventh that brought the score to 9-2. Cusick reached on an error, Graef doubled to left and McLam drove in both runners with his first career triple while also scoring on the play as the throw to third went wide of the bag and into the Temple dugout.
The Owls countered, though, with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Elijah Yarborough led off with the squad's second solo shot to left of the day. Henry Knabe later added Temple's fourth run with an RBI single through the left side.
In the top of the eighth, the Minutemen took advantage of another Temple error to add what would prove to be two crucial insurance runs. Freshman Vinny Scifo and Cusick both reached with consecutive one-out singles and both scored without another hit in the frame. Owls' pitcher Connor Staskey airmailed a throw to third down the line, allowing both Scifo and Cusick to score.
Then in the bottom of the eighth, Temple plated four runs on three hits and one error to climb back to within three of UMass, 11-8. The Owls put the tying run on base after tallying three straight singles to open the bottom of the ninth, but senior Jordan Pace worked out of the jam with double play ball and a strikeout to end the game.
Junior Aaron Plunkett pitched 6.1 innings in his start for the Minutemen and logged his first career win (1-6). He allowed four runs on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Dan Moller took the loss (1-6) for Temple after letting up five runs, three earned, on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
McLam paced UMass at the plate with a 3-for-4 afternoon, including a double and a triple, to go along with three RBI and two runs scored. Campero finished 2-for-5 at the plate with three RBI and scored once, while Cusick and Graef scored three apiece.
Yarborough led the Owls' offense hitting 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.