WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Despite a late rally, the UMass Lowell River Hawks baseball team (22-25, 12-13 AE) held off the Hartford Hawks (8-34, 7-18 AE) to claim a 14-9 victory in the weekend series opener.
“It was a hitter’s day. Small field with the wind blowing out and I thought we did a really good job of putting together hits and having quality at-bats,” said head coach Ken Harring. “They closed the gap, but we answered right after, and I thought that separated us a bit.”
Freshman Jacob Humphrey (Standish, ME.), senior Gerry Siracusa (Kinnelon, N.J.), and junior Ryan Proto (Centerville, Mass.) all tallied three hits in the win on Friday. Humphrey added two stolen bases and one RBI while Proto scored three runs and tallied one RBI. Siracusa hit two home runs on the afternoon, bringing his total to 10 on the season. Siracusa and sophomore Roddy Hernandez (Jersey City, N.J.) each brought in a team-best four RBIs.
“Brendan [Williams] came in the game and was fantastic for us. He threw strikes, put up a bunch of zeros, and gave us an opportunity to win in really tough conditions.”
On the mound, senior Joshua Becker (Burlington, Mass.) got the start and threw 3.1 innings. The senior struck out three and allowed five earned runs. Sophomore Brendan Williams (Auburn, N.Y.) threw 5.2 innings, striking out four and allowed four earned runs.
Jacob Humphrey got things started with a leadoff single, but the River Hawks went down three straight afterward. Joshua Becker threw a 1-2-3 first inning, picking up one strikeout. UMass Lowell led off the second with a double to left from junior Cedric Rose (Pittsfield, Mass.). Ryan Proto then doubled to left to score Rose, giving the River Hawks an early lead. With Proto on second, Roddy Hernandez drilled a shot to left to extend the lead to 3-0. Humphrey picked up his second hit of the day with a single up the middle before advancing to third on a balk and a stolen base but was left stranded.
Hartford answered with a leadoff solo shot on the first pitch of the second inning to cut the lead to two runs. Becker retired the next three hitters to escape the inning. The River Hawks tacked on another run in the third on a single to left from sophomore Fritz Genther (Kingston, N.Y.) that scored Gerry Siracusa, putting UMass Lowell ahead by three once again still with bases loaded. Roddy Hernandez singled to right to bring in two more runs, stretching the lead to 6-1. Becker threw a 1-2-3 third with another strikeout to keep the River Hawks in control.
The Hawks added a second run in the bottom of the fourth on another solo shot to left field to cut the lead to 6-2. A two-run home run brought Hartford within two runs with one out in the fourth. The hosts continued to fight back and a solo home run from Brad Maycock made it a one-run game. With runners on first and second, Brendan Williams took the mound for the River Hawks in relief of Becker. The sophomore escaped the inning and kept UMass Lowell ahead.
In the fifth, Jacob Humphrey’s third hit of the afternoon brought in Fritz Genther to provide some breathing room for the River Hawks with a 7-5 lead. Senior Robert Gallagher’s (Mullica Hill, N.J.) two-run RBI down the right-field line stretched the lead to four runs. Gerry Siracusa drilled a two-run home run to left to put the River Hawks ahead 11-5 through five. UMass Lowell added another run as Ryan Proto stole home in the next frame, pushing the lead to seven runs after six innings.
The River Hawks’ offense continued to hit well as Robert Gallagher doubled to right field to start the seventh inning. Gerry Siracusa followed with his second two-run home run of the afternoon to push the lead to 14-5. Brendan Williams picked up two strikeouts to end the eighth inning to send the game into the final inning with the River Hawks ahead by nine.
Williams struck out Holmes to open the bottom of the ninth before an RBI double to center scored one run, cutting the lead to 14-6. A two-run home run followed by a solo shot brought the Hawks within five runs with just one out. Williams forced two pop-outs to end the game and give the River Hawks the game one victory.
Game two of the weekend series is set for 1:00 p.m. at Fiondella Field on Saturday, May 14.
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