ORONO, Maine – The UMass Lowell baseball team (15-21, 7-9 AE) fell 4-3 to the Maine Black Bears (17-14, 13-3 AE) in extra innings on Friday afternoon.
“Tough loss. You need to do the little things to win a game like that and we didn’t and that was the difference,” said head coach Ken Harring. “We will regroup and be ready to go tomorrow.”
Freshman LJ Keevan (Holden, Mass.) had another strong outing on the mound, throwing 7.0 innings with six strikeouts and allowing just two earned runs. Seniors Matt Draper (Lowell, Mass.) and Joshua Becker (Burlington, Mass.) each threw 1.0 inning and struck out one each. Graduate student Henry Funaro (Lowell, Mass.) threw 1.1 innings, striking out two.
Senior Gerry Siracusa (Kinnelon, N.J.) and juniors Cedric Rose (Pittsfield, Mass.) and Ryan Proto (Centerville, Mass.) each tallied two hits to lead the team. Proto and Siracusa each scored one run for the River Hawks.
Keevan picked up two strikeouts in three scoreless innings. The Black Bears took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a double to center. Proto made a great defensive play throwing out a runner attempting to steal third before Keevan struck out Maine’s Knotts to end the inning. The freshman struck another Maine batter out in a 1-2-3 fifth inning to keep UMass Lowell within striking distance.
The River Hawks found a spark in the sixth inning as Siracusa hit a single to left to get things going. Freshman Brandon Fish (Londonderry, N.H.) tripled to right to bring in Siracusa and tied the game. Rose then stepped up to the plate and singled to center to bring in Fish, giving UMass Lowell a 2-1 lead. The Black Bears answered in the bottom of the sixth and tied the game at 2-2.
LJ Keevan continued to pitch well, ending the seventh inning by striking out Maine’s Goodman looking. Matt Draper took over on the mound in the eighth and threw a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout. In the ninth, Proto tripled to right before sophomore Fritz Genther’s (Kingston, N.Y.) sacrifice bunt brought in the junior to score and give the River Hawks a 3-2 lead.
Joshua Becker entered the game in the ninth inning. With two outs, Maine rallied and tied the game at 3-3. Becker struck out Marquez with a runner on to send the game to extra innings. Henry Funaro then came in for the tenth and struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning. In the top of the eleventh inning, the River Hawks had the bases loaded with one out but could not bring in the go-ahead run. Maine walked it off in the bottom half of the inning with a bases-loaded single to give the hosts the 4-3 victory.
Game two of the weekend series is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at Mahaney Diamond.
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