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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Rookie Pitching Leads UMass Boston Baseball in Florida

FORT MYERS, FL – The University of Massachusetts Boston baseball team has always been able to hit and score runs, but through six games of the 2004 season, pitching has been the key as they own a 3-3 mark through the first four days of action in Fort Myers, FL at the Gene Cusic Classic.

The Beacons rebounded from a 4-1 season-opening loss to Augsburg College with a 3-0 victory over the same squad in the second game of a twin-bill on March 13. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Blanchard (Gloucester, MA) was brilliant, while tossing a four-hit complete-game shutout over the Auggies. Blanchard was never threatened throughout the outing as only one Augsburg base runner made it to second base on the night. The sophomore struck out four, while hitting a batter and threw just 65 pitches in a game that took just an hour and 32 minutes to complete. Senior centerfielder Mike McGonagle (Boston, MA) provided the offense for UMB with a two-out, two-run triple in the fifth inning to give the Beacons a 3-0 lead.

Despite rapping out 11 hits, UMass Boston suffered a 13-1 loss to the number five team in the nation, Wooster College on March 14. The Beacons took on Fontbonne University in a double-header the following day and needed just two pitchers to man the mound for the day. UMB started a pair of rookies and came away with a split. Freshman left-hander Jamie Soto (Lawrence, MA) allowed five runs on 10 hits, but just two runs were earned as the Griffins took advantage of three costly errors made by the Beacons to earn a 5-3 win. Soto pitched all seven innings to earn the complete game and didn’t allow a walk. Senior second baseman Jon Tekela (Thornhill, ONT) collected a pair of hits and knocked in a run from the leadoff spot, while senior rightfielder Eddie Stish, Jr. (West Hazleton, MA) registered a single and a double and scored a run. Sophomore leftfielder David Waters (Millis, MA) smacked his first career hit with a booming double in the fifth inning and singled in the seventh for a two-hit game and also scored twice.

Freshman hurler Pat Donovan (Lowell, MA) was the story in the day’s second game over Fontbonne, which is coached by former Red Sox all-star third baseman Scott Cooper. The righty scattered eight hits and walked a pair, while fanning four batters and allowing just one run to earn his first collegiate win in a 3-1 decision. The Griffins’ only run came in the fourth inning when Jeremy Cowan drew a two-out walk and scored all the way from first on a single by Josh Stahl. UMass Boston picked up the margin of victory in the top of the first inning when junior shortstop David DiCenso (East Boston, MA) reached on an error and McGonagle singled and both later moved up to second and third to set up a two-out, two-run single by Stish to give UMB a 2-0 lead. The Beacons received an insurance run in the seventh when Tekela led off with a single and came around to score when DiCenso’s sacrifice bunt to the pitcher was thrown away, allowing Tekela to advance three bases and give the Beacons a 3-1 advantage. Fontbonne also threatened to score in the sixth inning when Matt Sauer and Cowan each singled to open the inning, but Sauer was picked off second base by Donovan, and McGonagle later ran down a deep fly ball to right-centerfield to end the inning and the threat.

UMass Boston continued its trend of getting quality pitching from its newcomers, as freshman right-handed pitcher Evan Tardugno (Methuen, MA) went the distance to pick up a 9-1 win over Amherst College on March 16. Tardugno allowed just one run on seven hits and two walks, while striking out five batters. The Beacons owned a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning, when they broke the game open with four runs as they took advantage of a pair of Amherst errors and received RBI singles from DiCenso and Stish to give UMB a commanding 8-1 lead. Stish finished the day with three hits and three RBI, while junior catcher Troy Larocque (Hudson, NH) broke out with a pair of doubles and a triple to drive in a two runs. Sophomore third baseman Mike Yagmin (New Britain, CT) also contributed with two hits, while knocking in two runs.