As River Hawks head coach Ken Harring said after the game “to win mid-week games everyone has to contribute.” On Wednesday afternoon at LeLacheur Park, it was another bad inning that led to the team’s undoing. This is starting to become a theme for this pitching staff, and one the coach would like to see come to an end right now. Instead, for the second straight Wednesday game, his team gave up a big inning and never recovered from it. Rhode Island (11-25) used a seven-run third inning to their advantage and get the win 10-5 over UMass Lowell (15-20).
Zack Rodgers (3 IP, 10H, 8ER, 3SO) got the ball for the River Hawks. His command, according to his coach, was the main culprit of his outing. He threw too many “fat pitches over the heart of the plate” that got hit hard. After giving up a run in the first on back-to-back base hits to leadoff hitter Jordan Laske (3-5, 2RS) and Alex Ramirez, both moved up on a fly ball to right. Laske scored on a ground out to SS by Eric Genther, 1-0 Rams. The third inning would be Rodgers’s (0-1) demise. Ten men batted, eight got hits, and seven scored. There were two home runs in the inning, the first a three-run shot down the left-field line by Addison Kopock (2-4, 2 RS, 4 RBI, 1 HR). then a solo bomb that was added by a stiff wind to right by Anthony DePinto (2-5, 2 RBI, 1RS) When it was all over, the Rams had an 8-0 lead on the River Hawks.
With all the runs the River Hawks have scored recently, the thought was with plenty of game left they would find a way to get back into the game. In their half of the third, they showed signs that this was possible. Facing the second pitcher of the afternoon for URI, Ryan Andrade, things did look a little promising. A double by Roddy Hernandez was followed by a single to right by Jacob Humphrey. Runners were at the corner for Fritz Genther who brought home Hernandez with a sac-fly to left. Gerry Siracusa then ripped a double down the left-field line to score Humphrey with the second run of the inning. After Robert Gallagher tried to bunt his way on and was unsuccessful, Cedric Rose walked. Brandon Fish then came through with a double to right that scored both Siracusa and Rose. The River Hawks had cut the lead in half at 8-4 Rhode Island.
After that, URI finished the deal by scoring single runs in both the fourth and fifth innings off of Zack Fortuna (1.2 IP, 4H, 2ER, 2BB, 2SO, 1HBP). In the fourth, DePino got an RBI base hit to center that scored Kopock who started the inning with an infield hit to the shortstop hole. He then stole second, before crossing home plate with the ninth run. In the fifth, Kopock drove home his fourth RBI of the game with a sac-fly to center field, 10-4 Rams. Harring said of Fortuna “he was a one-pitch pitcher who had trouble with his breaking stuff.”
Lowell’s bats went silent because of strong relief pitching from six relievers out of the Rhode Island bullpen. Lowell did push across a run in the ninth as Humphrey (3-4, 1 RBI, 1 RS) reached on an infield hit to third that scored Ryan Proto (3-4, 1 RS). He started the inning with a hit to center-field then took second when the ball was bobbled in the outfield. The run came off of the ninth pitcher of the day for URI Corey Savedoff.
After the game, Harring turned his focus to the weekend and the trip to Maine to face a Black Bear team that has yet to lose a conference series. He believes his lineup can score enough runs to stay in those games. Pitching, as always, will be the key. Maine has been a tough place for the River Hawks to have success at. The coach said, he is “looking forward to the weekend and the challenge.” The coach also mentioned junior relief pitcher Frankie Venezia who has battled back from Tommy John surgery to be a part of the team. He made his debut on Wednesday in the fifth and pitched a scoreless inning. Quincy Clark got the win for URI and he is now 1-0.
Thursday morning, the River Hawks get on the bus and head to Orono, Maine for a big weekend series that starts Friday afternoon at 4 PM.
My interview with coach Ken Harring after the game:
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