DURHAM, NC – The UMass Lowell baseball team (3-7, 0-0 AE) fell to the Duke Blue Devils (7-5, 0-0 ACC) 9-4 in the opening game of the series on Tuesday night.
“We gave up nine runs on seven hits. Free passes and hit by pitches make it tough to come back in games,” said head coach Ken Harring. “We need to clean that part of our game up and limit those errors.”
Sophomore Michael Quigley (Halifax, Mass.) finished with four strikeouts and five earned runs in 3.0 innings in the loss. Senior Robert Gallagher (Mullica Hill, N.J.) led the offense going 2-4 with an RBI. Fellow senior Gerry Siracusa (Kinnelon, N.J.) went 1-4 with one RBI as well.
Quigley picked up his first strikeout of the day in the first inning, sitting Duke’s Chris Crabtree. The defense provided the sophomore pitcher with some help in the second, as junior Ryan Proto (Centerville, Mass.) threw a Duke baserunner out at second before Quigley struck out another Blue Devil to end the inning.
The Blue Devils’ offense got rolling in the third, as Graham Pauley hit a solo home run to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Alex Mooney hit a grand slam with one out to extend the lead to 5-0. Quigley got out of the inning with a strikeout and a ground out.
Freshman Hayden Duke (Mattapoisett, Mass.) made his collegiate debut for the River Hawks, entering the game in the fourth inning. The Blue Devils added another run on a sacrifice fly to make it a 6-0 game. Duke then got the strikeout to end the inning.
After the Blue Devils added a seventh run in the fifth, the River Hawks looked to the offense to get them back into the game. Gallagher singled to center to bring in sophomore Fritz Genther (Kingston, N.Y.) to get UMass Lowell on the board. The River Hawks went down the lineup and walked in three more runs to make it a 7-4 game. Genther then struck out to end the inning, leaving three runners stranded. Duke responded in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two to push the lead to five. The Blue Devils held on to win game one of the two-day series 9-4.
Freshman Jomari Rosa (Methuen, Mass.) made his first collegiate appearance for the River Hawks, coming in for the bottom of the sixth. Graduate student Zach Rodgers (Parrish, Fla.) and junior Brian Gaughan (Walpole, Mass.) also made appearances on the mound for UMass Lowell, earning three combined strikeouts.
“A lot of guys are getting in and getting great experience,” said Harring. “Hopefully that experience will get them to relax out there and just play their game.”
The River Hawks will take on the Blue Devils again on Wednesday, March 9 for game two to close out the series. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Durham Bulls Athletic Complex.
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