Baseball Loses To Richmond, 9-5
May 22, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts baseball team (19-26, 10-14 Atlantic 10) closed out the 2004 season with a 9-5 loss against the University of Richmond (31-22, 17-8 Atlantic 10) this afternoon in the Atlantic 10 regular season finale for both squads on Earl Lorden Field. The game was marred by horrific umpiring in the eighth inning.
UMass junior starting pitcher Keith Doherty (Quincy, Mass.) had a gem going as he allowed just one hit over the first seven innings of the contest, while striking out three. With the Minutemen leading 2-0 in the top of the eighth inning, things quickly got complicated.
Doherty walked Richmond's lead off batter Ben Zeskind to start the frame and Spiders second baseman quickly stole second base. Junior first baseman Jim Fasano followed and worked a full-count before Doherty blew one by the 2003 Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year, recording the first out of the inning. Freshman Matt McKenna followed with a fly ball to left field, which appeared to be caught by hard-charging junior leftfielder Curt Szado (Monson, Mass.). As the third base umpire called the second out of the inning, Szado alertly fired the ball to second base where senior infielder Cullan Maumus (New Orleans, La.) was covering the base. Doubling up the runner Zeskind, the potential double-play seemed to have the Minutemen heading to the bottom of the eighth, still leading, 2-0.
As the Spiders were taking the field, the home plate umpire overruled the call saying the ball hit the ground, and therefor was a hit. Since Zeskind was not tagged out on the play, he was also ruled to be safe at second base. The UMass players then took off their batting helmets, and returned to the field, with two runners on and only one out. Richmond proceeded to score six runs with four more hits and take a 6-2 lead.
UMass battled back with a trio of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning as senior Matt Reynolds (South Boston, Mass.) doubled on the right field line, plating sophomore catcher Frank Curreri (Weymouth, Mass.). Senior shortstop Mike Athas (Holyoke, Mass.) followed with a double down the right field line plating Reynolds, advancing to third on a wild pitch. Junior rightfielder Jason Twomley (Fitchburg, Mass.) followed with a sac fly to deep centerfield scoring Athas.
But that would be all the runs UMass could push across as the Spiders answered with three of their own in the top of the ninth.
Curreri finished the day a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He reached base in 41 of UMass' 45 games this season, including each of the last 26 consecutive contests. The righty finished the year with a team-leading .380 batting average, 54 RBI, a .464 on-base percentage and a .614 slugging percentage. Playing with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League this summer, Curreri also tied for the team-lead with seven home runs, and led the squad with 23 extra base hits including 16 doubles. His RBI total ranks as the fifth-highest single season figure in school history, as do his 16 doubles. Classmate Matt Torra (Pittsfield, Mass.) will also play in the league with the Orleans Cardinals.
UMass baseball finished the year in fourth-place of the Atlantic 10 East Division.