The Other Side
- This weekend marks the second series of the season between UMass and Army. The two squads previously faced off on Feb. 22 and 23, with the Black Knights sweeping that three-game series.
- Since they last faced the Minutemen, the Black Knights have gone 3-3 while outscoring opponents 35-13, including taking two of three from Wagner last weekend in Brooklyn. The two-time defending Patriot League champs currently hold a 7-5 record while leading the league in several statistical categories, including RBIs, stolen bases and sacrifices.
- One of the main factors to Army’s early success has been senior outfielder Jon Crucitti, who has started all 12 games on the season, and is leading the team in hits (19), triples (3) and total bases (25) while hitting .404 on the season.
- Also producing for the Knights so far this season are outfielder Daniel Cortes and infielder Grant Van Orden whom are both hitting above .333 and has combined for 17 hits, including two doubles and nine RBIs.
- Leading the Knights from the rubber is senior LHP Nick Dignacco, who is 3-0 on the season with a 1.12 ERA, second best in the Patriot League on the season. Dignacco has held opponents to a .212 batting average while striking out 22 in 24.0 innings pitched this season. Gunnar Carroll (2-0, 2.59 ERA) has also produced quality innings while holding opponents to a .244 batting average in 24.1 innings pitched. Junior RHP Alex Robinett rounds out their trio of starting pitchers with 28 strikeouts in 24.1 innings while holding batters to a league best .139 batting average.
- UMass earned its first win of the season last weekend with a 15-0 decision over North Carolina A&T. The game included home runs from Brandon Walsh and Kyle Adie, marking the first round trips that both players have made in their collegiate careers.
- The Minutemen exploded for 19 hits and four home runs in their victory, setting the team’s highest single-game totals in those categories since Mar. 26, 2011, when the team hit four home runs in a 6-3 win over George Washington.
Setting The Bar High
- Dylan Begin set a number of single-game career highs on Mar. 8 against North Carolina A&T including hits (4) and RBI (5). The senior also tallied two runs scored in one game for the fifth time and two doubles for the second time.
- Brandon Walsh had three hits and two runs scored on Mar. 8, marking career highs in those categories.
- Junior Conor LeBlanc (Glastonbury, Conn.) had a standout performance on the mound for the Minutemen in their win over North Carolina A&T. LeBlanc threw eight shutout innings, facing five batters over the minimum and earning the win over the Aggies in the process.
- Andrew Grant combined for the shutout with LeBlanc, striking out two in the ninth inning.
Rounding The Bases
- UMass wasted no time getting on the board in its 15-0 victory on Mar. 8, scoring four runs in the opening frame of the contest. The Minutemen batted around in a sequence that included a three-run home run courtesy of senior Dylan Begin and an RBI single from classmate Nick Sanford.
- Eight different UMass players crossed the plate in the team’s 15-0 victory on Mar. 8, including four runs scored by redshirt junior Kyle Adie.
- Aside from that, Adie tallied his first career collegiate home run in the same game, a three-run shot in the eighth inning. Including the home run, he finished 3-for-6 on the day, with two singles and three RBI.
- The Minutemen return 25 members from the 2013 roster, including seven of its nine regular starters in the field, but will be without the services of All-Atlantic 10 DH Rob McLam who will redshirt the 2014 season.
- The returnees who will see action this season accounted for 50% of the tam's runs scored, 65% of its RBI and 69% of its extra base hits in 2014, including eight of nine home runs.
- Senior Nik Campero is the team's top returning hitter for average after hitting .305 (50-for-164) last season with 20 RBI. Redshirt junior Adam Picard posted a .300 average in 2013 (42-for-150) and led the Minutemen with 31 RBI, while matching senior Dylan Begin for the team lead in home runs (4) last spring.
On The Mound
- UMass returns 264.9 of its 398.1 innings from last season including five individuals who made at least one start on the mound in 2013.
- Among those back for 2014 is senior DJ Jauss who posted a 4.04 ERA last year with 35 strikeouts in 49.0 innings.
- Right-handed pitcher Andrew Grant started all 12 games that he appeared in as a sophomore in 2013 and led the Minutemen in wins (3) and strikeouts (58).
- The Minutemen welcome five freshman arms to the pitching staff: Mike Geannelis, Tommy McDonald, John Mione, Ryan Moloney and Ryan Venditti.
Nearing Another Mile-Stone
- Head coach Mike Stone is entering his 27th season at the helm for the Minutemen and his 32nd overall as a head coach.
- Stone begins 2014 just 12 wins away from his 700th of his career. Overall he is currently 688-673-3 (.505) overall with a 634-583-3 (.521) mark at UMass.
New England Flavor
- Following this weekend, UMass plays 16 of its next 19 games in either Massachusetts or Connecticut.
- The squad faces the Hartford Hawks on the road on the afternoon of Mar. 19 before facing the La Salle Explorers for three at Earl Lorden Field beginning on Mar. 21.