ORONO, Maine – Despite a seventh-inning rally, the UMass Lowell River Hawks baseball team (15-22, 7-10 AE) fell to the Maine Black Bears (18-14, 14-3 AE) on Saturday afternoon.
“Another tough loss. Gave up a six-run third inning and that was hard to come back from,” said head coach Ken Harring. “We struggled to get hits off their starter. But we got back in the game in the seventh and had an opportunity, but we just couldn’t finish. We have to come back tomorrow and salvage a win in the series.”
Five River Hawks tallied a hit in Saturday’s loss. Junior Ryan Proto (Centerville, Mass.) led the team with two RBIs on the afternoon. Senior Robert Gallagher (Mullica Hill, N.J.) scored one run and hit a double. Freshman Jacob Humphrey (Standish, ME.) tallied his 30th stolen base of the year.
On the mound, graduate student Ryan Towle (Westfield, Mass.) got the start for the River Hawks, throwing 3.0 innings, striking out six allowing six earned runs. Junior Brian Gaughan (Walpole, Mass.) threw 2.2 innings and struck out three. Senior Matt Draper (Lowell, Mass.) closed the game and struck out two, allowing one hit.
The River Hawks and Black Bears once again were engaged in a tightly contested pitching duel in the first three innings of game two. UMass Lowell had the bases loaded in the top of the third, but could not open the scoring, leaving three runners stranded for the second straight game.
Maine jumped ahead in the bottom half of the inning after a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded brought in one run. With two out and two on, Bramanti drilled a three-run shot to left to push the lead to 4-0. Jenkins then sent a two-run shot to right, stretching the lead to 6-0 after three.
Brian Gaughan entered the game in the fourth inning for the River Hawks. The junior forced a double play to end the inning, keeping UMass Lowell down by six. In the top of the fifth, the River Hawks had the bases loaded again, but could not get on the board. Ryan Proto made yet another great defensive play in the bottom of the fifth, throwing out a runner attempting to steal second just before Gaughan threw his first strikeout of the afternoon. Maine scored one more in the fifth for a 7-0 lead.
In the sixth, freshman Hayden Duke (Mattapoisett, Mass.) entered the game with two outs, and the bases loaded in relief of Gaughan. The freshman struck out Bramanti to end the inning. The River Hawks got on the board in the seventh after Gallagher doubled to left-center to lead off the inning, UMass Lowell’s first hit of the day. Sophomore Roddy Hernandez (Jersey City, N.Y.) then singled to the shortstop and advanced to second on an error. Gallagher scored on the error, making it a 7-1 game. Freshman Alex Luccini (Hopedale, Mass.) singled to first to move Hernandez to third, who then came in to score on a passed ball, cutting the lead to 7-2.
Junior Cedric Rose (Pittsfield, Mass.) hit a two-out RBI single to bring in sophomore Fritz Genther (Kingston, N.Y.) and cut the lead to 7-3. Rose and senior Gerry Siracusa (Kinnelon, N.J.) then both stole bases to move them to second and third, respectively. Ryan Proto singled to left to bring in Rose and Siracusa, cutting the Maine lead down to two runs. Matt Draper took over for Duke in the seventh with runners on first and second. With the bases loaded, a sacrifice fly scored one to give Maine an 8-5 lead. With the bases loaded, Draper struck out Mejia to end the inning, keeping UMass Lowell within three.
The River Hawks could not score in the eighth, but Draper got out of the bottom of the inning in four batters, closing it out with a strikeout. Maine led 8-5 going into the ninth. UMass Lowell went down in order and fell 8-5 in game two.
Game three is set for Sunday at 12 p.m. at Mahaney Diamond.
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