By Dylan Botelho, Staff Writer
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Corsairs Baseball team started their season strong, with a 9-2 start in their first 11 games over spring break. With one of the most successful starts in University history, the Corsairs have been dominating teams and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Their season began Tuesday, March 6 at the New England Baseball Complex where the Corsairs took on Worcester State. After scoring runs in seven of the nine innings, the Corsairs secured their first win in their first game of the season, 10-2. The Corsairs began breaking records as soon as their first outing, as their pitching staff’s 12 punch-outs where the team’s highest since March 25, 2017 when the Corsairs struck out 12 against the Rivier University Raiders.
Their success would continue through the week as the Corsairs win their next two, starting the season 3-0 for the first time since 2012. Their two wins against Nichols College and Wartburg College where led by the Corsair’s pitching staff. Senior Ben Lodge struck out 12 in the game against Nichols alone, a career high for him. In the first three games of the season, the Corsairs pitching staff had already stuck out 39 batters. Good pitching is nothing without run support and the Corsairs bats have been live to start the season, averaging seven runs scored in their first three.
The Corsairs would finally be handed their fourth game, the first of a double-header against Springfield. After falling 3-1 in the first game, the Corsairs would bounce back and beat the Pride 3-2 later in the day.
After another dominant win against Spalding, the Corsairs moved to 5-1 for the first time since 2011. In that game, they stole a season-high four bases as well as hits with 18. The pitching staff also earned their fifth double-digit strikeout in just six total games.
The pitching staff’s dominance did not go unrecognized; junior Matt Cronin was selected as the little East Conference’s Pitcher of the Week. Returning from Tommy John surgery, Cronin’s two wins stood tied for first in the conference and his 11 punch-outs tied him for sixth in the league.
After winning two more and capping off a four game win streak, the Corsairs once again found themselves in the losing column in the first game of a double header. The Corsairs were defeated by the Clarkson Golden Knights in the first game of the day 8-5. As they did against Springfield however, the Corsairs returned with vengeance and took the second game of the double header, 4-3 over Clarkson.
The Corsairs topped off their fantastic two week run with another victory – this time against SUNY New Paltz in a 11-1 game that was never in doubt. The Corsairs ran away with this game late, scoring seven runs in the eighth inning to put them over New Pultz in a dominant fashion. Their record of 8-2 at the RussMatt Invitational in Winter Haven, Florida last week was their most successful yet, besting their previous high record of 6-3 from 2010.
Despite having not played at home yet this season, the Corsairs have received consideration for the Top 25 National D3 baseball rankings, receiving 6-votes but not yet making the cut.
The Corsairs will finally play their home-opener when they host Mass. Maritime Academy at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21.