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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Baseball Returns From Florida With Winning Record

Senior+Catcher+Todd+Ezold
Senior Catcher Todd Ezold

After a successful week in Florida at the Snowbird Baseball Classic, Skipper Brendan Eygabroat faces the difficult task of winning hardware for the University of Massachusetts Boston baseball trophy case. In his previous ten years as head coach, Eygabroat has only seen the NCAA tournament once. Despite the lone appearance, Eygabroat has plenty of postseason experience and seems confident that his squad will make a run at the Little East Conference Championship.
The Beacons got off to a slow start this year, but in the past eight games the team had six convincing wins. Their early success hasn’t stemmed from an easy schedule, and in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Their opponents at the Snowbird were regarded as top quality collegiate squads. For example, the Beacons had a hard fought win, 4-3, against SUNY Cortland. At the time Cortland was ranked third in the nation, and are currently ranked second. During the Beacons time in Florida, they endured numerous difficult games and faced three nationally ranked opponents. Despite the challenges, the Beacons flew home with a winning record of 6 and 5.
What is the reason for the success?
Offensively, the team has made numerous strides this season. In the 2014 campaign, the team had a batting average of just .254 and an on base percentage of .357. This year, the Beacons are off to a blistering start, hitting .306 with an on base percentage of .386. 
“Luke Nagle and Trever Bouvier have been key to our offensive success,” said Eygabroat. “Both are transfer students who are new to our program. Last year, Luke was First Team All-American at his old university, and Trevor, our shortstop, has been a really efficient hitter for us.” Currently, Nagle is batting .429 with a slugging percentage of .750 in 28 at bats, and Bouvier is batting .361 with a .611 slugging percentage, off of 36 at bats.
While the offense is running on all cylinders, the defense still hasn’t found its footing yet. Defensively, the biggest problem that the team faces are its unforced mistakes. “The number one thing we need to improve on is our errors,” said Coach Eygabroat. “In Florida we conceded seven errors in one game and nine in another. If we can cut back on errors and stay healthy we have a great shot at doing some serious damage in our conference.”
Despite some of the defensive struggles, the pitching has been great this season. The Beacons have had contributions from not just their starting pitchers, but also their bullpen. “Daniel Mantoni, our Sophomore Captain, has been huge for us this season. He has posted a 1.29 era and was able to shut down Heidelberg and Cortland’s programs for us,” said Eygabroat. “Kyle Szatrowski also pitched extremely well; he’s one of our most consistent players. Not to mention our bullpen did a solid job too, particularly Josh Cummiskey did a great job closing.”
The past four games have been delayed or cancelled due to poor weather. Despite the rainy days, the Beacons are anticipating success for the remainder of the season. Their first conference games are Monday, March 30. The double header will be a local derby between UMass Boston and UMass Dartmouth. “This year our biggest challenges within the LEC are UMass Dartmouth, Eastern Connecticut, and Southern Maine,” said Eygabroat. “Those three teams are the front runners with us, but the LEC is a melting pot of talent and no team is a cake walk.” The Beacons need to bring their A game to succeed in a conference as strong as the LEC.
After a solid start, the team is positioned to do great things this season. Out of UMass Boston’s 40 man roster, 19 players are new comers to the program. Despite the significant turnover from last year’s roster, the team is handling the change well. Overall the coaching staff and team members are on the same page, making it much easier to establish their team identity. “We have a great group of guys and I expect a successful season,” said Eygabroat. “Our team goal is to win the LEC tournament and advance to the NCAAs.” Ultimately, UMass baseball has a tough road ahead of them, but the Beacons seem ready to shine bright.