As head coach Ken Harring said after the game “A win is a win.” While that might be true in most cases, Wednesday afternoon may have been a little different. That’s because it has been a difficult first twenty games for the River Hawks (4-17), a team that back in the preseason was picked to finish second in the America East coaches poll. Hopefully, the 10-3 win over Stonehill Univeristy (3-16) is a step in the right direction for UMass Lowell. They took advantage of everything that Stonehill gave them. They stole seven bases, and they did a much better job of putting bat on ball getting 10 hits while striking out only four times. The two big innings that the River Hawks had in the ball game were created by Stonehill mistakes. But for a team that has lost seventeen of their first twenty games, they will take anything they can get.
The other thing the coach was happy about was the pitching from his team. Eight hurlers got some work in on Wednesday and did their job of throwing strikes and staying out of trouble. Coach Harring was especially pleased with the one inning of work from sophomore left-hander LJ Keevan who pitched a scoreless third inning with two strikeouts. Keevan has been battling a bit of a sore elbow and for the short turn will be used out of the bullpen until his arm strength returns. Another pitcher that caught the coach’s eye was freshman right-hander Brian Foley who came on in the ninth and also punched out two hitters in setting the side down 1-2-3.
Of the tenth hits the River Hawks put on the board on Wednesday, only two players had a multi-hit game. Gerry Siracusa (2-for-5, 1 RS, RBI) and Alex Luccini (2-for-3, 1 RS, RBI). Of Luccini, the coach talked about how well he has been swinging the bat. But the coach still believes his team is fighting it a bit, clutching the bat a little too tight at the moment. There were some defensive mistakes that needed to be cleaned up, however, SS Fritz Genther continues to show why he is the best middle infielder in the league making two great defensive plays, one up the middle in the fourth and then again deep in the hole in the sixth.
The River Hawks started the scoring in the very first inning off of Stonehill starter Jonathan Rice (0-1). Ryan Proto delivered a two-run RBI single to center that plated Robert Gallagher and Siracusa, later in the inning a ground ball double play off the bat of Trey Brown made it 3-0 River Hawks. Stonehill would get two of those runs back against UMass Lowell starter Miles Cota in the second inning. Some shaky infield defense led to both runs being scored. Lowell pushed across another run in the third on the first collegiate hit and RBI for Trevor Crosby, an infield hit into the shortstop hole. The River Hawks put the game away in the fourth with a four-run inning. A throwing error by Stonehill catcher Chris Roberti scored Genther who along with Proto executed a double steal. A wild pitch would bring home a third run, and a Sac Fly from 1B Matt Tobin finished the scoring in the inning. At this point, the River Hawks had a 9-2 lead and had scored runs in their first four at-bats.
UMass Lowell now looks ahead to a weekend trip to Maine to face the Black Bears starting on Friday afternoon. Graduate right-hander Matt Draper should get the ball for game one of the series.
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