Trips To Siena, Northeastern Next For Baseball

March 31, 2013

 Massachusetts (3-13) at Siena (7-18)
Date  Monday, April 1 at 3:00 p.m.
Location  Siena Field | Loudonville, N.Y.
Weather Forecast  Few Showers/Wind, 44 Degrees | Chance of Rain: 30%
UMass Probable  TBA
Siena Probable
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 Massachusetts (3-13) at Northeastern (15-11)
Date  Wednesday, April 3 at 3:00 p.m.
Location  Friedman Diamond | Boston, Mass.
Weather Forecast  Partly Cloudy/Wind, 44 Degrees | Chance of Rain: 0%
UMass Probable  TBA
Northeastern Probable
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 Game Notes

Scouting Siena
- Siena enters Monday's contest with a record of 7-18 and is coming off a 2-1 series loss to Marist in its first conference action of the season. The three games against the Red Foxes were the first three the Saints have played at home this season.
- As a squad, Siena is currently hitting .255 on the year with a pair of regular starters, Mike Fish (.340) and Vincent Citro (.316) hitting over .300. Collectively the Saints have hit 13 home runs on the year, paced by Fish's five that have contributed to his 19 RBI and 16 runs scored. Larry Balkwill (.284) paces the squad in RBI with 23 and has eight doubles in 25 contests.
- The Saints' pitching staff collectively holds a 5.92 earned run average over 208.1 innings with an opponent batting average of .325 and 101 walks to 137 strikeouts. Matt Gage leads the team in strikeouts with 33 over 40 innings.
- UMass is 15-11 all-time against the Saints having last faced Siena in 2011. The Minutemen's last victory in the series came in 2009 by the score of 11-10 in 10 innings in Loudonville, N.Y.

Scouting Northeastern
- Northeastern, who will host Rhode Island on Tuesday prior to facing the Minutemen on Wednesday, begins the week with a record of 15-11 and has won its last five in a row, including a three-game sweep of its CAA series vs. James Madison this past weekend.
- The Huskies are batting .268 as a team over 26 games and have stolen 37 bases. Three of the squad's regular starters boast batting averages over .300--Justin Kessler (.391), Connor Lyons (.327) and Jason Vosler (.317). Two more, Rob Fonseca and Aaron Barbosa are just below at .299 and .295, respectively. Vosler leads the team in RBI with 22 and Barbosa has scored a squad-best 21 runs.
- As a staff, Northeastern's pitchers boast a 3.16 ERA over 225.0 innings with an opponent batting average of .246 with 89 walks and 153 strikeouts. Nick Cubarney holds the team's best ERA at 1.66 with a 3-1 record over 21.2 innings pitched and three starts. Dylan Maki (2.35 ERA) has three saves over 11 appearances.
- UMass' series with Northeastern is currently tied at 42-42 all-time. Last season, the Minutemen defeated the Huskies twice, 4-1 in the first round of the Beanpot and 7-6 in Amherst on May 2.

Home Sweet Home
- The Minutemen opened their home schedule this past Friday and Saturday by taking two out of three games against NJIT. UMass went 14-6 at home last season, including winning seven of its last eight at Earl Lorden Field.

Cusick Approaching A Milestone
- Redshirt junior Ryan Cusick went a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts last weekend against NJIT, bringing his season total to 11 for the year in 15 games played. 
- Cusick now has 42 stolen bases in his career (42-for-51) and is three shy of becoming the first Minuteman to break into the program's career stolen bases liast since 2002. He needs just eight more to become the eighth UMass player in history to reach the 50 steals mark.
- In 2012, Cusick finished tied for third in the Atlantic 10 with 23 stolen bases in 39 games played. He ranked 15th in the nation in stolen bases per-game (0.59).Cusick is currently averaging .73 stolen bases per-game this year and entered the weekend tied for 10th in the Atlantic 10 in stolen bases.

Minutemen Snag First Shutout Of Season
- UMass collected its first shutout of the season last Saturday as sophomore Andrew Grant and senior Ron Wallace combined to blank NJIT, 1-0 in the first game of a doubleheader, limiting the Highlanders to just two hits. 
- Grant worked seven innings in the start, his longest outing of his career to date. Wallace threw two hitless innings in his first appearance of the year and collected his first career save. 

Career Firsts
- First career games: John Jennings (3/1 vs. Notre Dame); Zach Littman (3/1 vs. Notre Dame); Brandon Walsh (3/1 vs. Notre Dame); Vinny Scifo (3/3 vs. Ohio); Kellen Pagel (3/9 at Lamar); Ben Panunzio (3/17 vs. Manhattan)
- First career hits: Brandon Walsh (3/1 vs. Notre Dame); Vinny Scifo (3/3 vs. Ohio); John Jennings (3/15 at Seton Hall); Kellen Pagel (3/17 vs. Manhattan); Ben Panunzio (3/30 vs. NJIT)
- First career doubles: Paul Yanakopulos (3/2 vs. Tennessee); Jeff Cavanaro (3/3 vs. Ohio); Vinny Scifo (3/29 vs. NJIT)
- First career triples: Brandon Walsh (3/1 vs. Notre Dame); Ben Panunzio (3/30 vs. NJIT)
- First career RBI: Vinny Scifo (3/3 vs. Ohio); John Jennings (3/29 vs. NJIT)
- First career pitching appearance: Pat Lia (3/9 at Lamar); Evan Mackintosh (3/9 at Lamar); Adam Picard (3/9 at Lamar); Mason Trubey (3/9 at Lamar)

Picard Displays Versatility
- In UMass' second game of a doubleheader at Lamar, redshirt sophomore outfielder Adam Picard made his first collegiate pitching appearance. Picard tossed a scoreless eighth for the Minutemen, facing four batters. He currently holds a 0.00 earned run average over two innings of work.
- The 2010 Vermont Gatorade Player of the Year, Picard logged an 18-2 record on the mound in high school for Essex and struck out 110 batters in 131 career innings pitched. As a senior, he was 8-0 with a 1.30 earned run average.

Cusick's Five Hit Game
- In the Minutemen's win against Ohio, redshirt-junior Ryan Cusick went 5-for-5 for a career high. It marked the first five-hit game since 2011 when Matt Gedman went 5-for-6 at Hartford on Mar. 31. 

Hello Again
- The Minutemen are returning virtually all of their offense from last year with eight of nine position starters returning, the lone exception being four-year starting catcher Tom Conley.

- UMass brings back 87% of its runs scored, 86% of its hits and 82% of its RBI. Eight returnees had 100-plus at bats last year, with junior Rob McLam falling just shy at 98 at bats last season.
- McLam led the Minutemen in batting average last year at .337 (33-for-98) followed by assistant captain senior Rich Graef's .333 average (46-for-138). 

Small Ball At Its Finest
- UMass finished the 2012 season eighth nationally as a team in sacrifices with 79 and 23rd nationally in stolen bases per game with 70 over 44 contests, an average of 1.59 per game.
- As a team, UMass was a perfect 9-for-9 on the basepaths at George Washington and has been successful in 20 of its last 21 steal attempts over the past six games. On the year the Minutemen have stolen 37 bases (37 for 42) over 16 contests.
- Rich Graef (4th, 12), Rob McLam (t-5th, 11), Nick Sanford (t-5th, 11) and Anthony Serino (t-7th, 10) all set top-10 single season marks in the UMass record book for sacrifice bunts last season.

Young Arms

- The UMass pitching staff will be a young one in 2013 after the departure of four senior arms in 2012, including Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year Joe Popielarczyk, along with Dennis Torres, who turned pro following his junior season.

- The only returning Minutemen who made multiple starts in 2012 are sophomores Conor LeBlanc and Andrew Grant. LeBlanc was 4-1 with a 3.37 ERA over 34.2 innings in 12 appearances, five starts last season and earned Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team honors. Grant finished with a mark of 1-1 over eight appearances and three starts, a total of 22.1 innings and posted a 5.24 ERA. Over Grant's last five appearances of his freshman season, his final 16.0 innings of work in 2012, he posted a 1.12 ERA with an opponent batting average of .185.
- The 2013 UMass staff includes freshmen righthanders Rob O'Neil, Mason Trubey and Brandon Walsh and lefthander Evan Mackintosh. Sophomore Pat Lia did not see action last season and Dan Stoops made one appearance before being sidelined for the remainder of the year with an injury. 

Added Experience
- The Minutemen have added experience in its pitching staff with a pair of transfers, DJ Jauss and Jordan Pace. Both are graduate students, eligible to play immediately after graduating from East Carolina and Presbyterian, respectively. Jauss has two remaining seasons of eligibility, while Pace has one. Pace started in 13 games for Presbyterian in 2012.
- Pace's performance was one of the highlights of the Irish Classic for the Minutemen. In two appearances on the weekend, a total of 5.2 innings of work, he gave up just one hit, a single, walked two and struck out seven. Opponents hit just .053 against him (1-for-19).
- Pace boasts a team-leading 23 strikeouts to nine walks over 33.2 innings of work, while Jauss is second on the squad in innings pitched at 31.0 and holds a team-best 2.90 earned run average.

Beanpot Back In Fenway In 2013

- The championship/consolation games of the Beanpot Tournament will return to Fenway Park in 2013 and will be held on Monday, Apr. 29.

- UMass will host its first round Beanpot game vs. Boston College on Wednesday, Apr. 10, at 3 p.m. on Earl Lorden Field.

- The Minutemen captured their sixth Beanpot title in 2012 with an 8-7 win over Harvard at LeLacheur Park on Apr. 18 in Lowell, Mass. 

Up Next

- UMass will return to Atlantic 10 action this Friday, April 5, when the squad will open up a three game set at Rhode Island with a 3 p.m. contest.



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