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UMass Holds off Baseball, 8-7; Wins Beanpot Title

LOWELL, Mass. – Massachusetts held off a furious late-game rally by Harvard to claim the 2012 Beanpot title with an 8-7 victory at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass. on Wednesday evening.

Left-handed starter Conor LeBlanc (3-0) took a shutout into the seventh inning with 11 strikeouts and an 8-0 lead before Harvard put together three-straight hits to start the frame and chase him from the game. The Crimson eventually scored six times to make things interesting and wound up touching LeBlanc for nine hits in his six innings.

In the eighth, Jeff Reynolds made it an 8-7 game with an RBI single to right and the game came down to the final pitch in the ninth. Jake McGuiggan singled to lead off the inning; with a runner at second and two outs, Ethan Ferreira sent a sinking liner to center field that Tony Serino came up with for the final out.  

Harvard outhit UMass, 15-11, led by Kyle Larrow and Tanner Anderson, who had three this apiece.

Massachusetts (12-13) used small-ball throughout the game with the Minutemen scoring single runs in each of the first two innings with help from the bunt play.

Rich Graef led off with a bunt single, moved to second on a bunt single from Kyle Adie and the duo advanced on a sacrifice bunt from number-three hitter Tony Serino. Tom Conley then delivered a sacrifice fly to left for the first run.

In the second, a leadoff walk hurt Danny Moskovits (0-1) as UMass put on a hit-and-run play which worked perfectly with Dylan Begin singling through the right side and advancing a runner to third. Nick Sanford then laid down a suicide squeeze for the second run of the game.

UMass made it a 4-0 game in the third inning when Adam Picard launched a two-run homer off the scoreboard in left field with two outs.  

Bad luck befell Harvard (8-26) in the bottom of the fifth. Larrow and Anderson led off with singles and, with one out, Harvard put runners in motion. Reynolds hit a shot up the middle but with UMass covering the bag, the ball went for a 4-3 double play ball to end the inning.

Picard made it a 8-0 game in the seventh when, after a leadoff walk, a one-out hit batsman and a double steal, he lofted a 3-2 pitch to shallow left-center for a two-run single. UMass then added an unearned run after a dropped fly ball and a fielder's choice.

Harvard finally got to LeBlanc In the bottom of the inning. Marcus Way led off with a long double to right field. Larrow dumped a single into right field and Anderson singled deep in the hole at shortstop to plate pinch runner Matt Timoney and chase LeBlanc form the game.  

With two runners on, reliever Tim Cassidy hit J.T. Tomes with an 0-1 pitch to load the bases for Reynolds, who delivered a two-run double down the line in left. Jake McGuiggan followed with a sacrifice fly to left to make it an 8-4 game. Jack Colton then launched an 0-2 pitch to left field where Graef just missed coming up with a fine catch. Two runs came home on the hit to make it 8-6 but Colton got greedy and was thrown out at third base for the second out. UMass then went to the bullpen again in favor of closer Leif Sorenson, who got out of the inning and eventually got his sixth save of the season despite giving up a run in the eighth and allowing four this in 2.1 innings.

Harvard kept coming in the eighth as Larrow and Anderson each singled again with one out to bring up the top of the order. With two outs, Reynolds delivered a base hit to right field to score Larrow but again a bad base running cost the Crimson as Anderson was caught between second and third base and eventually thrown out to end the inning.  

Reynolds had two hits for the Crimson as did Steve Dill and Colton. Harvard used seven pitchers in preparation for this weekend's Ivy series against Brown (Friday and Saturday). Moskovits took the loss (0-1), allowing four runs in three innings. Matt Doyle, Zach Olson, Jacob Kremers and Andrew Ferreira all pitched scoreless innings.