KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Connor Smith’s two-out RBI single capped a three-run top of the ninth inning and gave Massachusetts a 10-9 win over Bucknell on Monday at Osceola County Stadium. Luke Johnson had two hits and two RBIs, and Tyler Wincig and Keifer Rawlings also had multi-hit games for the Bison.
Bucknell (3-9) led 4-1 after one inning and 9-6 after seven, but UMass (3-3) came from behind in the late innings. The Minutemen got one back in the eighth on a run-scoring ground out, then loaded the bases via a walk, a double and a hit batsmen to start the ninth. After a wild pitch resulted in a run, Brett Evangelista tied the game with a sacrifice fly. Smith’s single up the middle plated the go-ahead tally, and the Bison could not muster a rally of its own in the bottom of the ninth.
Down 1-0 after a half-inning, Bucknell exploded for four in the bottom half. Dominic Toso led off with a walk, Luke Hartman singled, and Johnson brought Toso in with a double. Hartman scored on a passed ball, Miles Moore knocked in the third run with a sac fly, and Rawlings made it 4-1 with his first of two doubles on the day.
After UMass pulled within 4-3 in the top of the fourth, Bucknell quickly responded with two in the bottom half. Rawlings doubled and scored two batters later on a two-bagger by Evan Madigan. Johnson singled home Madigan with two outs to make it a 6-3 contest.
The teams swapped single runs in the fifth and two each in the seventh. After the Minutemen pulled within 7-6, JohnPaul Bell swatted an RBI triple and later scored on a sac fly by Wincig.
While the offense had another productive day on the heels of an 11-1 win over Villanova, the Bison pitching staff encountered some command issues. Six Bucknell pitchers combined for 14 walks and six hit batsmen. They did manage to keep the team in the game by stranding 17 UMass runners.
Casey Aubin (1-0) secured the win for UMass by pitching three perfect innings in relief. Cooper Mrowka led the Minutemen offense with three hits and three RBIs.
This was the first of three games between the two teams. They will meet again on Tuesday at 3 p.m.