There are different ways to prepare and play mid-week games in college baseball. Some teams use them to give players who have not played a chance to get some innings under their belt. While others treat these games the same as conference outings.
UMass-Lowell head coach Ken Harring decided he would use this game against Harvard to give some of his pitchers some work, and for eight innings the plan worked like a charm. However, in the ninth, the plan went a little off kilter as walks from Max Frawley and a wild pitch from closer Nick Rand allowed the Crimson to erase a three-run deficit scoring four in the ninth to beat the River Hawks 4-3 at LeLacheur Park.
UMass-Lowell used eight pitchers in Thursday night’s contest, with the first six throwing shutout baseball for eight innings. Harvard pitching was pretty good as well giving up three over nine frames of work.
The River Hawks got the scoring started in the fourth inning vs starter Matt Hink of Harvard. Colby Maiola got things rolling by dropping a bunt in front of home plate. It was fielded by Hink who threw late and wild to first. The bad throw allowed Maiola to get to second base. Hink would then added to his problems by balking Maiola to third base and he would score on a base hit off the bat of Cam Climo, his 14th RBI of the year. Russ Olive would then double him to third, part of a three-hit night for the sophomore and all were doubles. Three batters later catcher Nick Barry who has struggled with the bat all season (hitting .098 on the year) drove one to RF for a sac fly scoring Climo and the River Hawks had a 2-0 lead.
River Hawks pitchers Connor Metelski, Ricky Constant, Kendall Pomeroy, David Hoar, Dan Cunico, and Ryan Searles threw a combined five-hitter over eight innings with eleven strikeouts and four walks to keep the Crimson at bay and set up a possible combined shutout for the staff.
The River Hawks would add what they thought at the time was an insurance run in the sixth. Olive hit his third double of the night this time to RF off of J. T. Bernard. He would be wild pitched to third then scored on another sac fly to center field off the bat of John Polichetti, RBI 15 on the year. We headed to the ninth and the River Hawks had a 3-0 advantage.
In the ninth Max Frawley was called on to get an inning in and save the win for the home team. A base hit from Drew Reid, followed by a walk to Devan Peterson got things started for the Crimson. A walk to Chad Minato loaded the bases and single by Jake Forte drove home Reid to make it a 3-1 ballgame. It forced Harring to go to his bullpen to bring on his closer Nick Rand to get his team out of a big mess.
The first batter he faced was Patrick Robinson who came into the game as Harvard’s best hitter with a .402 average. He doubled to left field to drive in two runs to tie the game at 3-3, the RBI for Robinson were his team-leading 33rd and 34th on the year.
After striking out Patrick McColl for the first out, he intentionally walked Matt Rothenberg to reload the bases. Rand would K John Maclean for out number two, and then face Ben Skinner who came into the game as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning. During the at bat Rand would uncork a wild pitch that would plate pinch runner Ian Miller who came on to run for Robinson with the go-ahead run, 4-3 Harvard.
Grant Stone, pitching his second inning of work for the Crimson, now had a chance at a W. He made things interesting with runners on second and third with two out he faced Climo with the game on the line. Stone came through as he would get Climo to fly out to center field to end the ballgame and pick up win number three on the season. Rand would suffer the loss, his second of the campaign.
With the win, Harvard improves to 17-21 while UMASS Lowell fell to 20-17 with the tough-luck defeat. The River Hawks get back into action this weekend with a three-game home series VS Hartford in America East play.
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