Tuesday Game At UConn Next For Baseball

April 22, 2013

 Massachusetts (9-21) at Connecticut (22-16)
Date  Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
Location  J.O. Christian Field | Storrs, Conn.
Weather Forecast

 Cloudy, 48 Degrees | Chance of Rain: 20%

UMass Probable  RHP DJ Jauss (1-4, 4.07 ERA)
UConn Probable

  LHP Christian Colletti (2-1, 4.32 ERA)

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 Game Notes

Scouting Connecticut
-The Connecticut Huskies sit at 22-16 on the season with a 3-6 record at home, playing at J.O. Christian Field.
-Connecticut comes into the game with a team batting average of .265. LJ Mazzilli has anchored the lineup to the tune of a .312 average while also leading the team in home runs (4) and runs driven in (30). He has stolen 17 bases in 17 tries, as well.
-The Huskies pitching staff has produced a collective 3.01 earned run average so far this season with 268 strikeouts over 350 innings. Pat Butler, the team’s top reliever, is 3-0 over 12 appearances, a total of 23.0 innings, with a 1.57 ERA and an opponent batting average of .213.
-The Minutemen and Huskies have a long playing history, as UMass is currently 72-83-3 against UConn all-time. The Minutemen’s last win in the series came in 2007.

Who's Hot
- Over one-third of senior Rich Graef’s hits have come in his last 20 at bats as he is batting .500 over the past five games (10-for-20) with a .565 on base percentage and four stolen bases during that span.
- Redshirt junior Ryan Cusick is batting .391 (9-for-23) over the past five games and currently leads the Minutemen on the year with a .302 batting average and as scored a team-best 20 runs, including five in the past five games.
- Since returning from injury, junior Dylan Begin is hitting .360 (9-for-25) with eight RBI, a double a triple and a home run. Begin has six extra base hits in 48 at bats this season, including three home runs to tie him for the team lead.
- Sophomore Dan Stoops has given up just one hit over his past two appearances, a total of 6.0 innings of relief, with no walks and four strikeouts. He earned his first career win last week vs. Central Connecticut.

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 10 games. The Minutemen have tallied 10 or more hits in seven of the past nine games, including a stretch of six straight.
- As a team, UMass is hitting .305 over the past 10 games with 57 runs scored (5.7 runs per-game). The squad had scored 54 runs over the previous 20 games (2.7  runs per-game).

Turning Two
- The UMass defense has been extremely successful at turning double plays this season as the squad has 33 in 30 games to rank 17th nationally in double plays per-game at 1.1, which leads the Atlantic 10.

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 18-for-21 on the year, accounting for 29% of the squad's stolen bases total.
- Cusick now has 49 stolen bases in his career (49-for-60) and has become the first Minuteman to break into the program's career stolen bases list since 2002, currently sitting tied for eighth with Bryan . He needs just one 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 is tied for third in the Atlantic 10 in stolen bases, 16th 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)
; John Jennings (4/20 at La Salle)
- 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. The 70 steals marked the team's highest total since 2004.
- In 2013 the Minutemen have stolen 62 bases (62 for 71) over 30 contests and are ranked 18th in all of Division I in stolen bases per-game at 2.07.
- 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 31 strikeouts to 14 walks over 58.1 innings of work, while Jauss is second on the squad in strikeouts with 30 in 42.0 innings pitched. The pair ranks first and third, respectively on the squad for innings this season, accounting for nearly 40% of the staff's innings this season.

Up Next
- UMass will play host to Saint Joseph's this weekend for a three-game Atlantic 10 series. Game one against the Hawks is set for Friday, Apr. 26, at 3 p.m. on Earl Lorden Field.



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