If you play or watch the game of baseball long enough, you will either experience or watch these kinds of games. The UMass Lowell River Hawks (13-18, 6-7 in AE) had their hitting shoes on Friday night. They had a season-high 22 hits and 20 runs as they punished a Hartford Hawks (4-23, 3-10 in AE) pitching staff that had no answers on this night. The 20-4 win was a complete team effort as every member of the starting lineup had at least one hit with several having multi-hit games. Except for one inning, the River Hawks pitching was good. Yes, it is a lot easier to throw strikes when you have a big lead, which they did. Under a full moon at LeLacheur Park, it was all River Hawks.
LJ Keevan (3-3) got the start for Lowell. His coach Ken Harring said, “the goal was to get six innings from him.” In the second, it did not look like he would make it past two innings. That’s because the Hawks put up a three-spot on Keevan. The inning began with a Tremayne Cobb Jr. double to center. After the next two hitters were retired, Noah Rivera turned around a Keevan fastball and drove it over the scoreboard in left for a 2-run HR, 2-0 Hartford. The next two hitters would add to Hartford’s lead. Daniel Burnett doubled to the 400-foot mark in dead center field and came home on a double to right field by Hawks catcher Kevin Koziol to make it 3-0 Hartford.
Herring said, “Keevan lost fastball command.” What the coach and the fans of the River Hawks really liked was the way the lineup answered. A four-run bottom of the third against Hawks starter Robert Chaney (0-2) got the ball rolling for the home team. SS Fritz Genther (4-6, 2 RBI, 1RS) hit a one-out double to center. Roddy Hernandez (3-5, 4 RBI, 3 RS) singled to center field. Number nine hitter, Alex Luccini, walked to load the bases. Jacob Humphrey (2-7, 2 RBI, 3 RS) hit into a 5-2 fielder’s choice. With two down and the bases full of River Hawks, the next three hitters took care of things. Robert Gallagher ( 2-2, 3 RBI, 3 RS) was hit by a pitch to force in the first run. Gerry Siracusa (3-5, 4 RBI, 1 RS) singled to center field to drive home two more to tie the game at 3-3. Cedric Rose (3-6, 4 RBI, 1 RS) singled to left to bring home Gallagher to give Lowell a 4-3 lead after two innings.
From there it was all downhill for the visitors from Connecticut. Their bullpen was smacked around by the River Hawks bats. Their defense was not much better as it was charged with five errors that led to only one run being unearned. It extended innings for Lowell to capitalize on. After a rocking second, Keevan settled down and gave his coach what he wanted and needed. His line of six innings of seven hits, four runs, and three earned could have been a lot worse if adjustments were not made. When asked about those changes, Herring said, “it was location and command by his fastball.”
Lowell’s bats stayed hot as a four-run third was followed by a two-run fourth. They would get two more in the sixth, and a single run in the seventh. Hartford brought on Dan Cote to pitch the eighth and he never recorded an out. He gave up seven runs on six hits, including a three-run bomb by Rose to left-center field. This was the kind of game and night that Hartford head coach Steve Malinowski cannot forget fast enough.
Saturday is a new day as Hartford will look to rebound by sending their ace to the hill. Senior RHP Tim Blaisdell will get the ball to try and even the series. The River Hawks will trot out grad senior Ryan Towle to keep things going for his team. First pitch is set for 1 PM.
Here is my interview with coach Harring after the game.
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