UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team will head north to Amherst, Mass., to face the Massachusetts Minutemen in a three-game, Atlantic 10 conference series. The set gets underway on Friday with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
Scouting the Spiders
The Richmond Spiders come in to this weekend's series with the Minutemen with an overall record of 21-20 on the season and a mark of 8-7 in Atlantic 10 conference play. Last weekend, the Spiders dropped two of three to Dayton at Pitt Field before falling in a midweek road game at George Mason, 7-4.
Headlining the Spider offense this season have been seniors Phil Ruzbarsky and Chris Cowell. Ruzbarsky leads the team with a .356 batting average, while Cowell has hit a team-best 14 home runs on the year. Junior Jacob Mayers has driven in 42 runs on the season, while senior Bryan Conway has hit 14 doubles.
Mayers, along with freshman Zak Sterling, have been the pacing Spider pitching staff. Mayers has struck out 80 batters in 77.1 innings pitched, while Sterling has posted a team-low ERA of 3.11. Senior closer Alex Maffett has tallied three saves on the season.
The Massachusetts Minutemen come in to the weekend with an overall record of 17-16 on the year, including a 9-6 mark in conference play. This past Wednesday, UMass tallied the 1,500th win in program history with a 7-6 victory over Northeastern. Last weekend, the Minutemen lost two of three at home to Temple.
Offensively, UMass has been led by junior Rich Graef who is hitting a team-best .327 on the season with 13 RBIs. Senior Tom Conley has driven in 16 runs on the campaign, while redshirt freshman Adam Picard has hit two of the team's five home runs. On the season, the Minutemen are hitting .263 as a team with 33 doubles and 123 RBIs.
Pitching has been the strength of UMass so far this year, as the staff has posted an impressive ERA of 3.80. Joe Popielarczyk has posted a 4-0 record to go with a team-low 1.45 ERA. The senior hurler also leads the team with 47 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched. Senior closer Leif Sorenson has recorded seven saves out of the bullpen.
In the overall series between the Spiders and the Minutemen dating back to the 1979 season, Richmond holds an overall record of 17-8 over Massachusetts. Of late, the Spiders have won five of the last eight meetings and have posted a record of 3-3 against UMass in Amherst.