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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beacons Begin Baseball Season in Florida

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Anthony Searles, sophomore catcher

Days are becoming longer, snow is finally starting to melt, and I think I even overheard a couple blue birds singing a sweet melody over the sirens that constantly blare outside of my Dorchester apartment.
Spring has finally sprung.
For the University of Massachusetts Boston baseball team, the new season is in full session, as the Beacons headed down to make their 2015 debut at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. over spring break. Although the team fell in its first two games of the season against undefeated and nationally-ranked No. 31 Heidelberg College and No. 17 Baldwin Wallace University, UMass Boston showcased some of its talent throughout the first week of action.
Returning All-Conference pitcher and infielder Daniel Mantoni gave the team a boost in game one against Heidelberg College, hurling six strong innings in which he only surrendered two hits and one run to help the Beacons protect a 5-1 lead. Despite a strong debut from Mantoni, the Beacons ultimately showed rust in the field, where the team’s defense committed nine errors to help Heidelberg put together an 8-7 comeback victory in 10 innings.
Only three of the runs the Beacons surrendered were earned, as Mantoni set the tone with three strikeouts and two walks. The only run the Northbridge native allowed was unearned, as Heidelberg capitalized on UMass Boston’s mistakes to surmount a comeback and improve to 6-0 on the year.
Even though the team lost it in the tenth with freshman Tyler Barre making his collegiate debut in his home state, there were still strong performances that the team will look to build on going forward. Sophomore catcher Anthony Searles reached base four times after going 2-for-3 with two doubles and two walks. The Shelton, Conn. native, who collected an RBI-double to give the Beacons a 1-0 lead in the top half of the second inning, also scored two runs in the loss.
Senior Chris Adams, who did not start the first game of the team’s doubleheader, extended the UMass Boston lead to 7-1 in the seventh with an RBI-double which brought home two runs. Heidelberg didn’t roll over that easily however, as the team bounced back to tie it with a two-run single in the ninth.
If the seven runs and 15 hits the Beacons delivered in their first game of the season was a step in the right direction, then the team took one backwards in Friday’s second game when it fell to Baldwin Wallace, 4-0. For the most part, the bats remained quiet in the nightcap, as the team only mustered five hits off of Mark Zimmerman, who struck out nine of the 28 batters he faced to earn the win after pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings.
Senior lefthander Kyle Szatrowki earned the loss after getting the start for the Beacons. The Agawam native allowed four earned runs on eight hits in his five innings on the mound. The senior struck out three and walked one, though Harlan Zeerip, Steve Witkowski, and Kevin Drew each threw perfect innings in relief.
Luke Nagle led the way at the plate for UMass Boston, as the junior first baseman went 2-for-4 at the dish.
After falling to 0-3 on the young season with a 9-2 loss to Marietta College on March 14, the team rallied to win six of its remaining eight games in the Sunshine State. Hours after the Beacons’ bats remained asleep in the third game of the season, UMass Boston rallied to beat Muskingum University 11-7 in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader.
The team finished the week on a high note against SUNY New Paltz on Sunday, as Nagle led the charge at the plate to help the Beacons improve to 2-3 with a 15-3 win. The junior went 5-for-5 at the dish with five RBIs and a homerun. Nagle, who leads all of the UMass Boston hitters which have had at least 20 at bats with a .429 average, hit homers in the team’s next two games—an 11-6 loss to the College of Wooster and a 6-3 win over SUNY New Paltz.
The Beacons beat Farmingdale State University and SUNY Cortland, 9-5 and 4-3, respectively, to improve to 5-4 on the season. Even though the team’s streak of three straight wins came to an end with a 10-3 loss to Denison University in Friday’s early game, UMass Boston put a stamp on its Florida trip with an 11-5 win over Denison in its final game at the Snowbird Baseball Classic.
On Tuesday the team will travel to Milton to face Curry College before traveling to Worcester State and UMass Dartmouth, for a doubleheader, on Thursday and Friday, respectively. The Beacons will make their home debut against Westfield State University on March 31st.
UMass Boston should be encouraged by the way the team finished its trip in Florida. After experiencing some turbulence in the first three games of the season, the Beacons responded nicely to return home with a winning record. There is no doubt the team will look to improve on its recent stretch of improved play, though with the unpredictable weather in New England it would not be surprising to see the spring sports schedule suffer from poor field conditions for the next few weeks.
At the very least, the baseball season has begun. So put away your parkas and retire your space-savers until the offseason, spring has officially arrived.