AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team used a balanced offensive attack and a six-run fifth inning to defeat the Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday afternoon, 13-8. With the win, Richmond improves to 22-21 on the season and to 9-8 in Atlantic 10 conference play. With the loss, UMass falls to 18-17 on the year and to 10-7 in league action.
Senior Chris Cowell had a great day for the Spiders, hitting a pair of home runs while tying his season-high with six RBIs. Classmate Bryan Conway had three hits on the afternoon, while seniors Adam McConnell and Phil Ruzbarsky drove in two runs each and had two hits.
Redshirt junior Matt Zink, sophomore Mike Small, and freshman Joey Vecchione each had a RBI, while sophomore Adam Forrer had two hits and scored three times. On the afternoon, the Spiders plated their 13 runs on 16 hits, with eight different players collecting at least one hit and eight others scoring runs.
On the mound, sophomore Andrew Blum (6-2) was solid for the Spiders, going six innings. Blum allowed six runs, but only three were earned, while striking out a pair. Out of the bullpen, junior Jolmi Minaya and freshman Ray Harron each pitched scoreless innings.
After UMass took an early, 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, the Spiders responded in the top of the second. After a walk, an infield single, and a hit-by-pitch, the bases were loaded for Vecchione. Swinging at the second pitch, Vecchione cut the lead in half with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Three batters later, the bases were once again loaded after a single and a walk, this time for McConnell. On a 2-0 count, McConnell earned a painful RBI, plating a run after getting hit by a pitch. Ruzbarsky then gave the Spiders the lead, drawing a five-pitch walk to push across the third run of the frame.
The Richmond lead would not last long, however, as UMass scored one run in the bottom of the second to tie the game. Then in the third, the Minutemen pushed across three unearned runs to take a 6-3 lead over the Spiders.
After a Cowell sacrifice fly cut the lead to 6-4 in the top of the fourth, Richmond exploded in the fifth. With one run already in on an UMass error, Zink tied the game with a perfectly placed bunt single down the first-base line, scoring sophomore Adam Forrer from third.
Two batters later, the bases were loaded for Ruzbarsky with just one out. The senior gave the Spiders the lead with a sacrifice fly to center field, putting runners on first and second with two away. Cowell followed his classmate to the plate, delivering a huge blow to the Minutemen. On a 1-1 count, Cowell crushed a long fly ball over the left-field fence for a three-run home run. Cowell's Atlantic 10-leading 15th home run of the season gave the Spiders a 10-6 lead after five full.
A McConnell RBI single in the top of the sixth pushed the advantage to 11-6, only for Massachusetts to cut the lead back to four runs with a score in the bottom of the frame, 11-7.
In the top of the seventh, Cowell was back at it, extending the Spider lead with another long ball. On a 1-0 pitch, the senior catcher blasted the offering deep over the left-field fence for his 16th homer of the season. Cowell's third multi-home run game of the season gave Richmond a 13-7 lead.
UMass would score a run in the eighth to cut the lead to five but it would not nearly be enough as Richmond evened the series with the Minutemen with a 13-8 victory.
The Richmond Spiders baseball team will wrap up its three-game series with the Massachusetts Minutemen on Sunday afternoon. First pitch in Amherst is scheduled for 12 p.m.