Umass Lowell head coach, Ken Harring, said it best after the game: “we are sick of losing”. It does sum up the way things have gone this year for the River Hawks (9-29). The Harvard Crimson (21-10) came to LeLacheur Park and scored in five of the nine innings played. They took care of this mid-week road contest with an 8-4 victory.
The Crimson were led by maybe the best three-four hitters in New England. Senior first baseman, Patrick McColl, and junior right fielder Jake Suddlesson, combined to go four-for-eight with two runs scored and two runs batted in. They got help from light hitting third baseman Logan Bravo who was two-for-four, with two runs scored. These three guys were a problem all game long for River Hawks pitchers.
Since this was a mid-week game, both coaches decided to go the staff route with their pitchers. Guys, that up to this point, had not gotten a lot of work, were giving a chance to get on the mound and throw. Harring was pleased with some of the outings he got from his guys The same can be said for Harvard head man Bill Decker.
Lowell jumped out first in the second inning off Crimson starter Chris McGrory. A leadoff single by Vinnie Martin (2-for-3, run scored) who then stole second and scored on a base hit to left field by Joey Castellanos (2-for-4, one RBI, one RS). This made it one to nothing River Hawks. Harvard then took the lead in the third. With one down against Lowell’s second pitcher of the game, Sean O’Neill, Hunter Baldwin singled to left and would advance to third of a double by McColl. It was his team-leading 14th of the season. Baldwin crossed home plate on a sac fly by Suddlesson moving McColl to third where he would score on a balk by O’Neill. Two to one Harvard.
In the fourth, the Crimson added to their lead with a two-run home run to right off the bat of Devan Peterson (first of the season) off of Gerry Siracuse to make it a 4-1 game. Lowell got one of those runs back in the bottom of the frame on back to back hits from Cam Climo and Martin. 4-2 Crimson. In the sixth, Harvard struck again. Consecutive hits from Hunter Bigge and Bravo to center field put them at first and second. They would be sacrificed to second and third, then both would score on a two-run double off the bat of leadoff hitter Ben Skinner. 6-2 Crimson.
Both teams scored in the seventh. McColl launched a home run to right off of Ricky Constant, his team-leading 11th of the year. 7-2 Harvard. The River Hawks answered in the bottom of the seventh. An RBI single by Andrew Roden scored Castellanos who began the inning with a base hit to center. 7-4 Harvard. The fourth River Hawks run made things a little too close for coach Decker’s liking. He went to the bullpen one last time to get his closer Kieran Shaw to finished things out and that just what Shaw did. One and a third innings, no hits or runs. He did walk two but also struck out two. Shaw earned his 13th save of the season for the Crimson.
Harvard did tack on an insurance run in the ninth just to be safe to get out of Lowell with the 8-4 win. After the game, Harring talked about Crimson first baseman McColl calling his year to this point, “unreal”. His point is well taken. McColl leads the Crimson in hitting at .430, runs with 39, hits with 55, triples with three, to go along with his doubles and home run output. MLB scouts should have this kid on their radar screen.
UMass Lowell will continue their non-conference week with a three-game set over the weekend vs Fordham. Harring said his pitching staff is “in decent shape for the weekend”.
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