CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A two-out eighth single proved to be the difference in a tooth and nail battle, Wednesday, as the University of Virginia defeated UMass Lowell, 4-3, in the series finale at Ted Davenport Field at Disharoon Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. With the loss, UMass Lowell falls to 4-11. The River Hawks have lost seven in a row. Virginia, an ACC member, is 14-4. The River Hawks are 3-12, all-time, against teams from the ACC.
“We competed hard, we played good baseball,” according to UMass Lowell Baseball Head Coach Ken Harring. “When you play a good team and you make a mistake, they make you pay and we paid.”
The River Hawks outhit the Cavaliers, 10-6, but the home team got the hits when they needed them the most. The two-out eighth single by Logan Michaels was Virginia’s sixth and final hit and their biggest of the day. It pushed across the winning run on a day defined by tough at-bats and tough pitching. The visitors left the bases loaded in the ninth, a line drive down the third base line that might have produced runs was turned into a double play.
“It’s baseball,” said Harring. “We worked hard, we competed hard. It is what it is.”
UMass Lowell jumped on top immediately but the lead did not last long. Sophomore Robert Gallagher (Mullica Hill, N.J.) opened the game with a bunt single, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a freshman Keagan Calero (Rochester, N.H.) singled to left field. The Cavaliers responded in their turn at-bat. A single and two walks and a balk tied the score, after the third walk of the inning a sacrifice fly gave the home team a 2-1 lead.
The River Hawks tied it back up in the second. Freshman catcher Ryan Proto (Centerville, Mass.) homered to left on a two-two pitch. He jumped on a hanging breaking ball for what was the first home run of his collegiate career. It was also the first of two hits on the day and four good tough plate appearances.
“He’s a smart ballplayer, he’s a smart hitter,” according to the coach. “He’s having some of our best at-bats and he’s hitting everything right on the barrel.”
The home team regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. A hit batter, a walk and a ground ball single through the left side of the infield plated the go-ahead run, 3-2.
UMass Lowell tied it back up in the eighth. Calero’s third hit of the day got things rolling; a walk and an error loaded the bases before a sophomore Gerry Siracusa (Kinnelon, N.J.) single brought a run in.
For Calero, it was his second consecutive three-hit game and he extended his hitting streak to a modest six games. He’s 11-for-20 during the hot stretch.
“He’s working hard at his game,” said Harring. “That’s all you can ask for. He’s learning from each at-bat and it’s paying off.”
A two-out single in the bottom of the eighth inning put Virginia back on top for good.
Calero, Proto and Siracusa each has multi-hit games as six different River Hawks hit safely.
Six different River Hawks went to the mound with varied results and a series of gutty performances.
Freshman Cam Seguin (Woburn, Mass.) was terrific coming out of the bullpen in the first inning, when starter sophomore Sal Fusco (Colonie, N.Y.) struggled. Seguin extricated the team from a bases load out-out jam with just one run scoring. The lefty proceeded to work four and two-thirds innings allowing just one hit and that one inherited runner to score.
“He used a fastball and curve and moved the ball in an out,” said Harring. “His curveball is like a frisbee and makes his fastball look like it’s in the upper 90s. He’s winner, he doesn’t let the moment get to him.”
Trevor Thompson (Eastvale, Calif.) took over and got four outs while allowing just one-base hit. Sophomore Blaise Sclafani (Souderton, Penn.) faced three batters and retired only one. A walk and a hit batsman ended his day early. Grad student Colin Duffley (Manchester, N.H.) faced just one batter and gave up a run-scoring single. Sophomore Joshua Becker (Burlington, Mass.) took the loss. He allowed one run in an inning and two-thirds of work.
After a day off for travel, the River Hawks return to the diamond at Plumeri Park, in Williamsburg, Virginia, Friday night, 6:00 p.m., for the first of a three-game series against William and Mary. Junior John Polichetti (Atkinson, N.H.) is expected to go to the mound in the role of an opener. The Tribe, a member of the CAA, is 8-9 this season. The two teams have played five times in the past, UMass Lowell winning once.
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