Granby’s Mike Toth leads UMass baseball to first win over ranked opponent in over 20 years

Granby’s Mike Toth helped the UMass baseball team to a win over Virginia last weekend.

Granby’s Mike Toth helped the UMass baseball team to a win over Virginia last weekend. PHOTO BY THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS


Staff Writer

Published: 03-07-2024 11:28 AM

Over the weekend, the UMass baseball team recorded its first win over a ranked opponent in over 20 years, handing No. 13 Virginia its first loss of the season with a 10-5 road win on Saturday afternoon.

Granby High School graduate Mike Toth was at the center of it. The sophomore catcher went 4-for-4, reached base five times, drove in two runs and also scored twice.

“I get all these texts from my family in western Mass. telling me they’re watching the game and they’re happy for us,” Toth said. “It’s awesome. It feels like we just got a home victory.”

The Cavaliers have reached the College World Series six times, most recently in 2021 and 2023, and had previously held a 38-game win streak against nonconference opponents. UMass hasn’t finished a season more than one game above .500 since 2003, though they did win over 20 games for the first time in a decade in 2022.

Carter Hanson started Saturday’s win off with a 411-foot two-run homer in the first inning to give UMass a 2-0 lead. In the next inning, Toth doubled and scored, as the Minutemen grew their lead to 4-0. And in the fourth, Toth was hit by a pitch and scored again to put UMass up 6-0.

Toth legged out singles in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings, and the Minutemen never let the Cavaliers into the game. UMass starter Sam Belliveau went five innings, giving up a pair of earned runs on six hits and four walks.

“It was fantastic,” UMass head coach Matt Reynolds said. “It was a special opportunity for our program being able to pick off a top-15 team and it shows our guys what we’re capable of when we play well.”

Though UMass lost the series 2-1, it hung with Virginia in losses on both Friday and Sunday.

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In the first game of the series on Friday, UMass held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, but Virginia tied it in the ninth and won it in the 10th. On Sunday, the Minutemen outhit the Cavaliers 14-11, but their late rally came up short in a 10-6 defeat.

“We competed with them the entire weekend and that was the most exciting part for me,” Reynolds said. “If we had gotten our doors blown off twice and somehow snuck a win out it would still be great, but I think the biggest thing that I hope that team takes away is that we were in every ballgame.”

Reynolds played for UMass from 2004-05 and stayed in Amherst to work as a graduate assistant until 2007. He’s trying to lead the Minutemen back to success.

“Hopefully it just continues to build and gets back to where it was in the late ’90s,” Reynolds said. “It was well-known that UMass was a very, very strong program and that’s what we’re aiming to get back to.”