In College baseball, if you have an ace starting pitcher you have the chance to win a lot of ball games. The Hartford Hawks (7-13, 3-1 AE) have such a pitcher. Nicholas Dombkowski is his name and he is a left-handed hurler. On Friday night, he put on a pitching clinic that was ace-worthy. He pitched seven innings of three-hit, no run baseball, walked only one man and struck out eleven. He threw 103 pitches of which 71 were for strikes. The UMass Lowell (5-18, 2-2 in AE) hitters never had a chance. Hartford wins the first game of this series 5-0 over the River Hawks.
Dombkowski (1-2), was in a groove from the moment he stepped on the mound. At one point in this outing, he retired twelve River Hawks batters in a row. In four of the seven innings he pitched, he faced only four men at the plate. The lone walk he issued came in the first inning to Cam Climo. No problem as Dombkowski would strike out the next batter Steve Passatempo to end the frame. He struck out the side in two of the seven frames he pitched in and had at least one punch out in six of the seven innings he threw. After the game, River Hawks head coach Ken Harring said: “he had all three pitches going”. When asked if Dombkowski was as good as any pitcher the River Hawks have faced this year his response was “from a competitive level he is as good as anyone ‘.
UMass Lowell starter, Nick Rand, was also good. He was just matched up against someone who was better on Friday night. Rand’s (2-4) line was six innings, five hits, three runs all earned, one walk and six strikeouts. On most nights that would be good enough to give his team a chance. In fact, the River Hawks did have one opportunely to get back in the game. Down four to nothing in the bottom of the eighth, they faced Hawks relief pitcher Will Nowak. UMass Lowell would load the bases with one out with the heart of the order coming to the plate. However, Nowak got out of trouble by getting Climo to a hit a weak ground ball back to the pitcher who forced a runner at the plate. Then, he induced a ground ball to shortstop by Passatempo to get out of the inning with no damage done.
The only offense the Hawks would need came in the fourth off of Rand. A leadoff single by Ashton Bardzell started it. He advanced to third on a ground out to second, then crossed home plate on a sac fly off the bat of Drew DeMartino to make it 1-0 Hartford.
They added on insurance runs in the sixth off of the combination of Rand and Kendall Pomeroy. A leadoff walk to Bardzell was followed up one out later by a single to center field by DeMartino. With runners at the corners and two outs in the inning, Donnie Cohoon faced Pomeroy. On a 0-2 pitch, Cohoon, who had previously struck out twice, stroked a single to right field past the dive of second baseman Mark Tumosa. The hit plated one run and they would make it three to nothing in the inning by executing a double steal with DeMartino crossing home plate.
Hartford added single runs in both the eighth and ninth inning to make the final score 5-0. The two teams will wrap up the series with a doubleheader starting at 1 PM on Saturday afternoon.