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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beacons Baseball off to promising start

The+guys+started+their+year+off+right+with+a+good+trip+to+Florida
The guys started their year off right with a good trip to Florida

Before the 2014 season, the University of Massachusetts Boston’s baseball team knew that in order to make a run in the Little East Conference, they would have to make some changes.
It wasn’t more batting practice, or fielding. The first change took place off of the field and in the weight room.
“This year more than ever the entire team has been in the weight room more than any other year,” said Lucas Ilges. “We have been pushing ourselves because we realize that we have a team that can make a big run in the LEC.”
Ilges, UMass Boston’s #1 starter, has been one the biggest highlights this season for the 6–5 Beacons.
In the Beacons’ season debut down in Florida, the big right-hander went 1–1 with an impressive 1.35 ERA. This season, the Gloucester native didn’t bring anything new to the table. Just like in past seasons, he relies on his trusty two-seam fastball to get outs.
“My two seam fastball is my best pitch. I can throw it [inside] on righties and I get a lot of ground balls with it. I am not a strikeout pitcher so I need to rely on that pitch to get most of my outs.”
Though Ilges’ personal goal was to return to Boston with an undefeated record, he’s still feels that the team’s trip to Florida was successful.
“Going down to Florida, I had a personal goal of coming back 2–0. I got my first win in my first start but lost my second.”
When asked about the 5–4 loss to Johns Hopkins, Ilges said, “It was a tough game. I did not have my best stuff but my team was able to fight back after starting down 4-0 and we almost came back to win.” 
“Overall we had a successful trip. We came back with a winning record, which is always good, but we lost a couple of tough games.”
The Beacons, who may be the considered one of the underdogs in the LEC, are going into conference play expecting to surprise a lot of people.
“I think going into LEC play we as a team are going to surprise people. We have more depth than in years past. Personally, I’m very confident.”
The conference is one of the toughest in the country, and includes National Runner-Up Southern Maine. When asked about facing so many tough squads, Ilges said, “I think I will be fine… I have pitched against southern Maine in years past and have fared well. So, I think we will do just fine with the tougher competition.”
The Beacons began Little East play on March 29, where they split a pair of games vs. Eastern Connecticut, a 3–0 loss and a 3–2 win.
In his last season, Ilges hopes to leave the team on the same note he arrived on: a championships run.
“I want to leave this program on a high note. I want to leave the program at the point it was when I came in and that is a World Series team,” Ilges said, referencing the squads improbable run to the Elite Eight in 2010.
Ilges is also confident that the Beacons’ depth and experience is fully capable of contending for a championship.
“This team is so deep. We have five good starters in myself, Kyle Szatrowski, Dan Mantoni, Josh Cummiskey and Harlan Zeerip and pitching wins in the LEC tournament.” He added, “Our bullpen is even stronger with guys like Matt Dziok, Will Barrack, and Dan Heefner, who is back after being hurt. He used to be a top starter but now he’s our closer.” 
“We will definitely contend. If we play the way we are capable of playing I don’t see why we can’t win the LEC tournament,” said Ilges. “Our lineup is strong, being led by Jamill Moquette and Anthony Gomes-Siriani, so with a good lineup and a very good pitching staff we will be there at the end of the year for sure.”