By Staff Writer Tom Griffin.
Last week’s performance out of the Corsair baseball team ended in two wins, one loss, a convincing doubleheader and a falling ranked team.
The team underwent a bit of an identity shift within the past week, starting to shake free from the hard-luck losing habits of weeks past. Starting the season at 8-11, the team began to hit their stride Tuesday, in a short spree of wins that reflected trending away from being blown out and toward being a contender. This spree ultimately culminated in a shutout upset of the #3 nationally ranked team – Southern Maine.
Tuesday’s win over the Southern Maine Huskies was something of a masterful performance out of the Corsair lineup, with both halves of the innings dominated by UMassD standouts. While not quite a no-hitter, sophomore pitcher Tucker Hetherman locked down the mound, allowing only five hits over the course of seven well-played innings. Later in the match, sophomore relief pitcher Max Penton took over for Hetherman in a bases-loaded situation, and his own heroics kept the ranked Huskies off the scoreboard to close the game.
The Corsairs displayed an unforgiving slugging performance headlined by JR DiSarcina, Chris Wood and Pat Vartanian. DiSarcina, on a streak of 19 straight games with at least a hit, knocked in two on the afternoon, including an RBI.
Across the entire UMassD lineup, the team amassed 13 hits on the game, leading to a game-sealing six runs in just the bottom of the third alone.
All things considered, this game – a dominating performance against some of New England’s best talent – was over before the seventh-inning stretch.
The Double-header on Saturday against the Western Connecticut Colonials was a bit of a different story, as the two games were traded between the Corsairs and the Colonials, with the nightcap going in favor of the latter. DiSarcina stayed productive in batting, supplemented by fellow UMassD juniors Mitch Baker and Nick Andrew, running up the score of the first game to an easy 5-1 victory.
The second half was an unfortunate affair of misplays and errors. Marred by a rundown error by DiSarcina that led to a Western Connecticut run, as well as a wild pitch that allowed a run to score from second, the Corsairs were down by two at the bottom of the ninth.
With runners on second and third, and potential RBI’s lined up for the next at-bat, the game was within tying distance in only a few hits. Unfortunately, those hits never came, letting the Colonials off with a win.
After licking the wounds from the hard loss, several positives appear for this Corsair team.
While the team might be set to orbit .500 for a while, it’s likely that they will put on an impressive showing while they’re at it.
Following their convincing win over Southern Maine, their total wins against ranked opponents increased to three on the season.
If they don’t develop into the playoff contenders we hope for them to be, they’ll still play a compelling spoiler to the teams with current championship hopes. They might not win all of their games, but so far, they seem to be winning the important ones.