Baseball Heads To La Salle Looking To Extend Win Streak

April 18, 2013

 Massachusetts (9-18, 3-6 A-10) at La Salle (15-19, 8-4 A-10)
Dates  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
 Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.
 Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.
Location  DeVincent Field | Philadelphia, Pa.
Weather Forecast

Friday: Isolated T-Storms / Wind, 76 Degrees | Chance of Rain: 30%
Saturday: AM Clouds/PM Sun, 60 Degrees | Chance of Rain: 20%
Sunday: Sunny, 56 Degrees | Chance of Rain: 0%

UMass Probables

 Friday: RHP Andrew Grant (2-4, 4.58 ERA)
 Saturday: LHP Jordan Pace (3-3, 3.20 ERA)
 Sunday: LHP Conor LeBlanc (0-3, 6.21 ERA)

La Salle Probables

 Friday: LHP Ryan Donohue (1-3, 6.13 ERA)
 Saturday: LHP Shawn O'Neill (3-4, 6.94 ERA)
 Sunday: RHP Shane Hollman (2-3, 5.79 ERA)

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@UMassAthletics | @UMas19sBaseball | @ExplorerGameDay

 Game Notes

Scouting La Salle
- The La Salle Explorers enter the weekend series with the Minutemen at 15-19 on the season with an 8-4 record in Atlantic 10 conference play. The Explorers hold an 8-5 record at home thus far at DeVincent Field.
-  Collectively, the Explorers have produced a .258 batting average this season with seven home runs and 150 runs scored. Mark Williams is pacing the offense, batting .352 (31-for-88) with a home run and eight doubles and a squad-best 20 RBI. Kevin Baron follows with a .339 average (42-for-124) with 20 runs scored and 14 RBI.
- La Salle's pitching staff has produced a 6.07 earned run average with 226 strikeouts over 295 innings this season. Closer Pat Christensen has compiled a 5-1 record with six saves over 14 appearances, a total of 32.1 innings. He has fanned 38, while walking just six and holds a 3.34 ERA.
- The Minutemen are 21-10 all-time against La Salle. Last year, UMass swept the Explorers in a three-game series at Earl Lorden Field, three one-run victories.

Pagel's Emergence
- Junior Kellen Pagel has been emerging at the plate recently as the former UMass quarterback, who is in his first season of college baseball, is 8 for his last 18 at bats over his past five games for a .444 average with three walks contributing to a .523 on base percentage during that span after beginning the season 1-for-19 (.053).
- Pagel picked up his first career RBI with a walk-off single to drive in the winning run in a come-from-behind victory over Hartford in extra innings on Wednesday. He has an active five-game hitting streak, tied for the longest active on the squad, and has posted multiple hits in three of the past four contests.

Turning Two
- The UMass defense has been extremely successful at turning double plays this season as the squad has 28 in 27 games to rank 18th nationally in double plays per-game at 1.04, which leads the Atlantic 10.

Bats Coming Alive
- UMass' offense has come alive as of late, posting season highs in both runs (11 vs. Boston College) and hits (17 vs. Central Connecticut) over the past six games. The Minutemen have tallied 10 or more hits in five of the past six games, including four straight.
- As a team, UMass is hitting .349 over the past five games with 31 runs scored (6.2 runs per-game). The squad had scored 66 runs over the previous 22 games (three runs per-game).

Home Sweet Home

- The Minutemen opened their home schedule by taking two out of three games against NJIT, Mar. 29-30 and are now 7-2 at home thus far this year and have won four straight in Amherst.
- Nine players who have seen action in five or more of those home contests are hitting .292 or higher at Earl Lorden Field, paced by Dylan Begin's 7-for-18 (.389) average. Sophomore Adam Picard has driven in 12 with five extra base hits over the nine games. As a squad, the Minutemen are out-scoring their opponents, 59-37 at home, while the pitching staff holds a 2.89 ERA over 84.0 innings 
- UMass went 14-6 at home last season, including winning seven of its last eight at Earl Lorden Field in 2012. 

Minutemen Advance To Beanpot Championship
- UMass rallied from a 4-0 deficit by scoring a season-high 11 runs to down Boston College, 11-6, in the teams' first round Beanpot game last Wednesday to secure a spot in the championship for the fourth time in the past six seasons.
- The Minutemen will now have the opportunity to defend their 2012 title as the squad advances to play Northeastern in the Beanpot Championship game on Apr. 29 at Fenway Park.

Cusick Breaks Into Stolen Bases Career List
- Redshirt junior Ryan Cusick currently leads UMass in stolen bases this season as he is 16-for-19 on the year, accounting for 28.5% of the squad's stolen bases total.
- Cusick now has 47 stolen bases in his career (47-for-58) and has become the first Minuteman to break into the program's career stolen bases list since 2002, currently sitting tied for ninth with Bryan Mazzaferro. He needs just three 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 .64 stolen bases per-game this year and entered the week tied for fourth in the Atlantic 10 in stolen bases, 13th nationally in stolen bases per-game.
Going The Distance
- Senior Jordan Pace tossed UMass' first complete game of the season on Mar. 24, going all nine innings in a 1-0 setback to George Washington. Pace also went the distance this past weekend in a 3-1 loss at Rhode Island, marking his fifth career complete game as he had three in 2011 at Presbyterian. The southpaw has gone six innings or more in each of his six starts this year.
- Andrew Grant has the Minutemen's third complete game on the year, a 2-0 shutout over Rhode Island on Apr. 6.

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); Bryan Dionicio (4/10 vs. Boston College)
- First career doubles: Paul Yanakopulos (3/2 vs. Tennessee); Jeff Cavanaro (3/3 vs. Ohio); Vinny Scifo (3/29 vs. NJIT); Kellen Pagel (4/10 vs. Boston College)
- First career triples: Brandon Walsh (3/1 vs. Notre Dame); Ben Panunzio (3/30 vs. NJIT); Adam Picard (4/10 vs. Boston College)
- First career RBI: Vinny Scifo (3/3 vs. Ohio); John Jennings (3/29 vs. NJIT); Bryan Dionicio (4/10 vs. Boston College); Kellen Pagel (4/17 vs. Hartford).
- 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)
- First career win: Evan Mackintosh (4/10 vs. Boston College); Dan Stoops (4/16 vs. Central Connecticut)

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 2.2 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. 

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.
- In 2013 the Minutemen have stolen 56 bases (56 for 65) over 27 contests and began the week ranked 19th in all of Division I in stolen bases per-game at 2.16.
- Rich Graef (4th, 12), Rob McLam (t-5th, 11) and Nick Sanford(t-5th, 11) all set top-10 single season marks in the UMass record book for sacrifice bunts last season. Graef has a team-high six sacrifice bunts this year and ranks third on the program's career list with 27.

Young Arms
- The UMass pitching staff is 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 30 strikeouts to 13 walks over 50.2 innings of work, while Jauss is tied with Pace for the team lead in strikeouts with 30 in 42.0 innings pitched. The pair ranks 1-2, respectively on the squad for innings this season, accounting for nearly 40% of the staff's innings this season.

Up Next
- UMass will travel to Storrs, Conn., to face Connecticut on Tuesday, Apr. 23, at 3:00 p.m.



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