Baseball Set For Forecast-Altered Series At Richmond

March 27, 2014

Massachusetts (3-13, 2-1 A-10) at Richmond (8-12-1, 1-2 A-10)
 Dates | Times Friday, March 28, 2014-Saturday, March 30, 2014 | 12:45 p.m./3:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
 Location | Forecast Richmond, Va. 
Friday: PM Rain, 70 degrees, Chance of Rain: 70%
Saturday: Rain/Thunder, 62 degrees, Chance of Rain: 100% 
 Live Stats | Video Live Stats | Watch
 Social Media @UMassAthletics   | @UMassBaseball  | @SpiderBaseball  
 Probable Starters UMass: LHP Conor LeBlanc (1-2, 3.67 ERA), RHP Ryan Moloney (0-4, 6.67 ERA), LHP Aaron Plunkett (0-3, 3.86 ERA)
Richmond: RHP Jonahan DeMarte (1-4, 12.42 ERA), LHP Zak Sterling (2-1, 2.84 ERA), LHP Zach Grossfeld (1-1, 3.00 ERA)
Game Notes

The Last Meeting
#5 Richmond9
May 23, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. (Houlihan Park)
Homers Carry Richmond Past UMass, 9-5 At A-10 Tournament
The UMass baseball team erased an early three-run deficit, but Richmond's second and third home runs of the afternoon helped carry the Spiders past the Minutemen, 9-5, in the opening game of the Atlantic 10 Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Fordham's Houlihan Park. Richmond (28-24) will move on to face Saint Louis tomorrow, while UMass (22-21) will play the loser of today's Rhode Island-Saint Joseph's matchup tonight at 7 p.m.

Schedule Update
Due to rain in the forecast for the weekend in Richmond, Va., the Minutemen and the Spiders will play a doubleheader on Friday, slated for a 12:45 p.m. start. The teams will then wrap up the series on Saturday with game three of the weekend set for 1 p.m.

About Richmond
- Richmond heads the weekend with a record of 8-12-1 overall and are coming off a series loss (1-2) at Dayton.
- As a team, the Spiders are batting .257 and have hit 15 home runs in 21 games. Tyler Beckwith leads the squad with a .328 average (19-for-58) with one double, one triple, one homer, 11 RBI and 10 runs scored.
- Doug Kraeger and Kurtis Brown follow, hitting .306 (26-for-85) and .302 (16-for-53), respectively. Kraeger leads the team in total base hits with 26, doubles with eight and extra base hits with 11.
- Zak Sterling (2-1) leads Richmond with a 2.84 earned run average over 31.2 innings with nine walks and 20 strikeouts over seven appearances with four starts. Zach Grossfield is second for the Spiders with a 3.00 ERA over four starts, 21.0 innings with 18 strikeouts and 11 walks.

Last Time Against The Spiders
The Minutemen have not faced Richmond since 2012 when the teams squared off both in the regular season and in the Atlantic 10 Tournament where the Spiders defeated UMass, 9-5. Richmond leads the all-time series, which began in 1979, 19-10.

At The Plate
Two UMass batters are hitting .300 or higher through the team's first 16 games of the season, paced by sophomore John Jennings at .333 (11-for-33). Freshman Mike Geannelis who is coming off a 1-for-4 day against La Salle and is batting .324 (11-for-34) for the season with three doubles, four RBI and five runs scored.
- Senior Dylan Begin paces the Minutemen with 10 RBI and has two of the team's seven home runs on the year with Campero, sophomore Brandon Walsh, redshirt junior Adam Picard, redshirt junior Kyle Adie and senior Kellen Pagel accounting for the others. Ten individuals have multiple extra base hits on the year.

On The Hill
Junior Conor LeBlanc has thrown a team-high 34.1 innings on the season over five starts and holds a 3.67 earned run average with six strikeouts and five walks with opponents hitting .276 against him. 

- Senior Aaron Plunkett has a squad-best 16 strikeouts in 25.2 innings over five appearances with two starts. 

- Freshman Tommy McDonald has been solid out of the bullpen for the Minutemen, having allowed just one run and three hits (none for extra bases) over five relief appearances for a total of 8.2 innings. He boasts a 1.04 ERA with opponents hitting just .103 against him.
- As a staff, UMass holds a 5.84 ERA over 138.2 innings with 55 walks and 71 strikeouts.

UMass Takes First A-10 Series Of The Season
- The Minutemen opened A-10 play at La Salle last weekend and took the series, 2-1, over the Explorers with a 7-6 extra inning victory in game one and an 8-6 win in game two.
- Senior Kellen Pagel hit his first career home run, a three-run shot, to lift the Minutemen over the Explorers in game two.
-  Senior DJ Jauss collected a win and a save over two appearances on the weekend, pitching two innings without allowing a run and letting up just one hit with two walks and two strikeouts. The save was the first of his UMass career.
- Sophomore Brandon Walsh earned his first career win out of the bullpen in game two, allowing only two hits in 3.1 innings pitched.)
- Despite taking the loss on Sunday, senior Aaron Plunkett had his best outing of the season thus far, allowing only a single earned run in 7.1 innings pitched.
- Freshman Dylan Morris went 2-for-5 including a double over the weekend, driving in two runs.

Offensive Outburst
-  UMass earned its first win of the season on Mar. 8 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.

Begin, Walsh Set Personal Bests
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.

Bats Back
- 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.

Returning Arms
- 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 GeannelisTommy McDonaldJohn MioneRyan 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 is just 10 wins away from his 700th of his career. Overall he is currently 690-681-5 (.503) overall with a 636-591-3 (.518) mark at UMass.

Next Up
- UMass is scheduled to travel to Boston College for a 3 p.m. matchup with the Eagles next Wednesday, April 2.



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