UMass Lowell clinches with sweeps UMBC. An important series in America East began on Saturday afternoon at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Ma. The UMass Lowell River Hawks (14-33, 9-11) and Maryland-Baltimore Retrievers (21-27, 6-16 in conference) were playing for a spot in the America East championship. The Championship takes place in two weeks in Binghamton, N.Y. A series win by the River Hawks, who came into this weekend with a three-game lead in the loss column on the Retrievers, would lock up a spot in the tournament. For the visitors, they needed at least two wins and maybe a sweep since this will be the final conference series for UMBC. Lowell wrapped up a spot in the championship with a doubleheader sweep by scores of 4-2 in game one and 5-2 in game two. With the losses, the Retrievers are eliminated from post-season play.
In game one of the scheduled doubleheader, Senior Nick Rand(4-5), making his final start at home, gave the River Hawks six innings of four-hit, two earned run ball. He did have to pitch out of a couple of early innings jams to give his team a chance. He did surrender the game’s first run in the second inning by giving up a bases-loaded walk to Terrence Pinkston, part of a three walk, one base hit frame for the Retrievers.
Maryland-Baltimore County sent Cooper Adams (0-4) to the hill. The one run lead his team presented him was short lived. In the bottom of the second, Lowell took the lead on a two-run double off the bat of Michael Young (two-hit game one) scoring Andrew Roden who walked to begin the inning. Cam Clino was hit by a pitch. Two to one River Hawks after two.
The Retrievers tied the game at two-all in the fourth on a RBI double by the number nine hitter, Andres Machado (2-for-4 with an RBI). The extra-base hit scored Jack Finn who was on via a base on balls. Lowell put up another two spot, this time in the fifth. Oscar Marchena, three hits on the day, delivered a two-run single to right scoring both Vinnie Martin, who led off with a walk and Joey Castellanos who doubled to right down the line. Four to two River Hawks.
River Hawks pitching took care of the rest. After Rand’s six frames, head coach Ken Harring went to his bullpen and called on another senior to close it out. Kendall Pomeroy picked up his second save on the season by going three innings of two-hit baseball, striking out three, and walking only one. River Hawks take game one 4-2.
The second game was a seven-inning affair. The River Hawks sent junior Connor Metelski to the mound. His first inning, he found himself getting into some trouble. Not all of it was his doing. After giving up a leadoff walk, Metelski gave up a ground ball off the bat Pinkston that was mishandled by Castellanos at third for an error. One out later, back to back RBI singles by Ryan Brown (three-hit day) and Raven Beeman put the Retrievers up two to nothing before the River Hawks came to bat.
The River Hawks, as they did in game one, responded with a four-run inning second against Maryland-Baltimore County starter Nick Trabacchi (2-5). Two hit batters, one wild pitch, one pass ball contributed to Trabacchi’s problems. He also gave up RBI doubles to Steve Passatempo, dropped in the order from fourth to seventh, his coach after the game said ‘it either relaxed him or got him mad’, and Martin (two hit second game, with an RBI). The third and fourth runs scored by a passed ball and wild pitch. Four to two River Hawks after two.
Halfway through game two, the River Hawks were in control. Metelski, after giving up the two first-inning runs, settled down and threw shutout ball for his fourth win of the season and his second complete game of the year. Maryland-Baltimore County did go their bullpen after the four-run second. Reid Celata came on in the third and quieted things down (4 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 SO). In the fifth, Lowell added to their lead with a run on a run-scoring single by Climo driving in Marchena who singled with one out to get things going. It was 5-2 Lowell after five. It would be all Metelski would need as he finished things off in style.
After the game, Ken Harring was pleased with his team’s performance. Both of his starters were good. On Rand, Harring said, “he was a bulldog”. On Metelski, the coach praised his ability to go the distance and save the bullpen for Sunday. One more game is left in this series, with first pitch scheduled for noon on Sunday.