UMass falls just short against Boston College in Baseball Beanpot

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 04-04-2023 9:33 PM

AMHERST — Carter Hanson swung to end the game, one way or the other.

The UMass baseball team trailed No. 9 Boston College 13-12 in the bottom of the ninth during Tuesday’s Baseball Beanpot opening round. Both teams held leads and gave them up.

With UMass first baseman Steve Luttazi on first, Hanson connected with an Andrew Roman pitch and sent it toward the center field fence.

“I don’t know if the wind was a factor, but I thought I got all of that one,” Hanson said.

He didn’t get quite enough. It dropped into BC center fielder Barry Walsh’s glove to end the game, ending UMass’ chance at a defining win.

“I thought it was gong to get out. I wish it was out,” said Lutazzi, a grad student from Franklin in his fifth season. “He put a great swing on it. That’s all you can ask for.”

Just coming close against elite programs isn’t enough for the Minutemen anymore. They fell against the Eagles in last year’s Beanpot championship game.

“I feel like we should be past the moral victories at this point. We’ve had that conversation a couple of times already in games that we felt like we should have won against teams that have traditionally been more successful than us,” UMass coach Matt Reynolds said. “At some point those have to flip over and become wins.”

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The Minutemen (4-16) led for more than the first half of the game after they scored 10 runs in the first two innings and were ahead 10-2. Hanson capped the outburst with a three-run homer in the second. He leads the team with three this season. Designated hitter Will Gervasi also had two hits and two RBIs.

Their bats quieted for the middle innings, while BC scored nine runs to take an 11-10 lead after the top of the sixth. Sam McNulty scored on a wild pitch to break the 10-10 tie.

“We just need to be more accountable. A 10-2 lead, you can’t blow that,” Lutazzi said. “That’s simply it, foot on the gas.”

UMass answered in the bottom of the sixth. Granby native Mike Toth led off with a double, and Zack Zaetta brought him around with a double. Lutazzi (four hits, three RBIs) smashed a solo homer in the seventh to restore UMass’ lead 12-11.

The Eagles (21-6) loaded the bases in the top of the eighth. Barry Walsh made it 12-12 with a sacrifice fly, and Joe Vetrano singled in what became the winning run.

BC left 14 men on base, but UMass issued 10 walks and hit three batters. The Minutemen also committed two errors.

“I guess it could have been worse. We did make some big pitches and some big spots, but just gave them way, way too many free bases,” Reynolds said. “We just completely pitched passively with a huge lead. We can’t do that.”

Toth walked to open the bottom of the eighth and went to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a ground out. Kevin Skagerlind hit an awkward grounder but couldn’t beat the throw to first that would have tied the game.

UMass limited the Eagles to one single in the ninth to give itself a chance at a walk off. Will MacLean (two hits) singled to lead off the inning, but the Minutemen then grounded into a double play. Lutazzi then singled with two outs to give Hanson his shot.

“We staked ourselves to a 10-2 lead and we blew it against the No. 9 team in the country. That’s a baseball game we need to win,” Reynolds said. “We didn’t pitch with any conviction, and we made a couple of key errors to hand them the game. It sinks.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.]]>