April 7, 2012

Baseball Earns Conference Sweep over Western Conn. State

DANBURY, Conn. – With a combined 31 hits and 26 runs baseball (13-9, 2-2 Little East) notched their first Little East Conference sweep of the 2012 season as they handed Western Connecticut State University (9-14, 0-4 Little East) a 16-10 loss in game one and a 14-4 loss in seven innings in game two Saturday afternoon at Westside Field.

On top of their dominating performances at the plate, the Beacons bullpen also stepped in a huge way as they held the Colonials to just 18 hits in the doubleheader.  In game one Daniel Heefner (Tracy, Calif.) went 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits, while also striking out two.  After getting the final out of the sixth and two in the seventh, the Beacons turned to closer Jeff Thomas (Redwood City, Calif.).  The junior righty went the final 2 1/3 innings and did not allow a hit and posted three strikeouts as well.

The nightcap saw Lucas Ilges (Gloucester, Mass.) neutralize the Colonials bats as he scattered seven hits while also fanning four in six complete innings of work.  With the 10-run mercy rule in effect in game-two the Beacons turned to Will Barrack (Lancaster, Va.), who fresh off of his strong showing from earlier this week, retired the final three batters he faced in order in the bottom half of the seventh.  Barrack struck out one of the three batters sealing the Beacons conference sweep.

In total six different players recorded two or more hits in game one.  Designated hitter Wilberto Sanjuro (Boston, Mass.) had perhaps one of the best games of his career as he went 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored.  Left fielder Nick Grassetti (Agawam, Mass.) also put together one of his best showings in the batter's box as he finished the day 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored.  Sophomore Jamill Moquette (Boston, Mass.) was another key hitter for UMass as he crushed his first home run of the year as well as picking up another double in his 4-for-9 afternoon which included two RBI and five runs scored.

Infielder Collin Keefer (Charlotte, N.C.) continued to produce at the plate finishing game one with two hits, one of which was a double, with three RBI and a run scored.  In total the Beacons put-up four doubles in the opener, and continued their aggressive base-running as they stole six bases.

Game one got off to a great start for the Beacons as they tacked on six-runs in the first inning.  Mark McCormack (Shelton, Conn.) in his first at-bat crushed a double to right center to put runners on second and third.  A passed ball and two hit by pitches would give the Beacons the early momentum and would advance runners into scoring position.  Sanjuro would earn the game's first RBI after being walked.  Mike Mattei's (Spencer, Mass.) single to left field would drive in a pair of runs, and a Grassetti single to center would score two more giving the Beacons the huge lead.

Western Connecticut did manage to get a pair of runs in the bottom half of the opening inning, but that did not slow down UMass.  They would get another run in the second to push their lead back to five.  Western would manage just one more run in the third and another in sixth, while UMass was able to get three more runs across to make it 10-4 going into the seventh.

In the top half of the seventh UMass saw Keefer drive in the team's 11th run of the afternoon on an RBI single to right field.  Even with the 11-4 lead, the Colonials quickly found themselves back in the game as they put-up six runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to make it just a one-run ball game.

That quick shift in momentum did not last however, as UMass put-up a five-spot in the top of the eighth to secure their first conference win of the season.

In the nightcap it was all UMass from start to finish as they scored seven runs, while hold Western Connecticut to just two in the first three innings of the game.  The Beacons would take full advantage of an error filled second inning to jump out to another commanding leading. 

The fourth inning would be the only inning in which UMass would not add a run to the scoreboard.  An RBI double from Grassetti in the fifth made it 8-2 in favor of UMass.  Western Connecticut did manage their third run of the day in the bottom half of that inning, but the game was sealed in the sixth as the Beacons unloaded five more runs with another in the seventh to secure the 14-4 victory.  The Colonials got their final run of the day in the sixth.

Matt Consiglio (Southbury, Conn.) led the nightcap with a 3-for-4 showing which also included three RBI and two runs scored.  Grassetti went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored, and Keefer finished 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Baseball returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to the University of Southern Maine for a 3:30 p.m. Little East Conference game.