AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Behind six shutout innings by senior Mac Curran (Lakeville, Mass.), the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth picked up its fourth straight victory by defeating Benedictine (IL) by a score of 9-2 on Thursday night at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 9, Benedictine University 2
Records: UMass Dartmouth 7-1, Benedictine University 1-2
How it Happened
Continuing to anchor the three-spot of the batting order, Corsair senior Kenny Michael (Norwood, Mass.) submitted another stellar performance at the plate with a three-hit day scoring a pair and driving in a run. Sophomore Mike Knell (Dennis, Mass.) also had a multi-hit outing as he went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and three RBI's. The Corsair pitching ensemble limited Benedictine to just seven hits, with catcher D.J. Dillon (Glenview, Ill.) logging a pair.
Sophomore Mitch Baker (Braintree, Mass.) picked up his first of two base-knocks in the second inning, singling to center and then advancing to second on a delayed steal. After a Knell walk, junior Pat Vartanian (Canton, Mass.) doubled one-hop off of the left field fence to plate Baker. Senior Josh O'Neil (Halifax, Mass.) then worked a four-pitch base on balls to load the bases, and then sophomore Nate Tellier (Attleboro, Mass.) also showed discipline at the plate for an RBI walk.
The Corsairs kept their foot on the gas in the following inning, as Michael used an inside-out swing to drop a ball directly onto the right field line and motored into third for a triple. On the very next pitch, junior Jose Vasquez (Roxbury, Mass.) drilled a double to split the outfielders, driving in another run for a 3-0 advantage. In the home half of the next frame, the Benedictine offense was brewing a comeback with runners on first and second; sophomore Jack Feeley (Naperville, Ill.) hit a Curran delivery on the screws towards the hot corner, but the Eagle effort was negated by a leaping Knell for the third out of the inning.
With a big opportunity to break the game open, UMass Dartmouth loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth. However, Benedictine sophomore slinger Ryan Miller (Eldrige, IA) bared down and escaped the jam by not conceiving any runs and keeping the contest at 3-0. In the seventh, Corsair righties peppered the opposite field by consistently driving the ball to the gap; Baker lined a pitch over the right fielder's head and legged out a triple, and then was brought home by Knell's double to the same spot for a 5-0 Corsair margin.
Benedictine hit their stride offensively in the bottom half of the frame. Feeley lined a ball to center and, despite the valiant diving effort by Tellier that came up just short, went on to race around the bases for an inside-the-park homerun. Second baseman Jonathan Hodo (Lynwood, Ill.) came up two at-bats later with a double to left to score freshman Michael Chaffin (Mascoutah, Ill.). UMass Dartmouth went off for four runs in the top of the eighth to provide plenty enough of a cushion for the Corsair bullpen, highlighted by Knell's two-run triple off of the base of the center field wall.
Inside the Numbers
- Curran established his ability to throw strikes early and often in counts, placing 52 of his 74 total pitches within the zone.
- The four Corsair pitchers tossed a total of 116 pitches on the evening, slinging 84 strikes (72.4%).
- UMass Dartmouth hitters did a terrific job of spoiling pitches and extending their at-bats, making the Eagles throw 191 pitches. The six slingers threw 111 strikes (58.1%).
- Knell worked three walks today, tying his career-high which occurred on Mar. 29 of last season against Roger Williams (10-2 win). The third baseman also tied his career-high in RBI's (three), which he accomplished twice in his inaugural season.
- Over the past three contests, the Corsair offense has amassed 40 hits and crossed the plate 32 times. Furthermore, hitters have gathered 13 extra-base hits, three triples, 27 RBI's, and stolen 11 bases.
- Michael is leading the UMass Dartmouth offense with a .433 batting average, placing him fourth-best in the conference.
- The pitching staff has racked up 94 punch-outs, seizing first in the conference.
The Corsairs gear up for a doubleheader tomorrow against Clarkson, with game one set for 3 p.m. and the latter contest slated for 6 p.m. at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex.