ALBANY, N.Y. – Sophomore Alex Luccini (Hopedale, Mass.) had a team-high five RBIs and three hits to lead the UMass Lowell River Hawks baseball team (11-21, 5-7AE) to a series victory over the UAlbany Great Danes (4-22-1, 1-11 AE) with an 11-6 win on Sunday afternoon.
“Today was a really nice bounce back from a poor performance from us yesterday,” said head coach Ken Harring. “The tone was set in the first inning with Alex Luccini’s three-run homerun, and we never really looked back after that. Nick DiRito was really efficient and LJ Keevan was really good on the backend which was nice to see.”
Luccini was one of four River Hawks to score two runs on the afternoon, along with graduate students Gerry Siracusa (Kinnelon, N.J.) and Robert Gallagher (Mullica Hill, N.J.), and junior Fritz Genther (Kingston, N.Y.). Genther and Siracusa each had two hits as well. Senior Ryan Proto (Centerville, Mass.) had two hits, two RBIs, and scored one run.
Freshman Nick DiRito (Plymouth, Mass.) improved to 3-2 on the year with the win. The rookie went 5.2 innings and struck out three with two earned runs. Fellow Freshman Michael Simes (Rutland, Mass.) went 2.0 innings with one strikeout and three hits allowed. Sophomore LJ Keevan (Holden, Mass.) returned to the mound for the ninth and struck out one in a 1-2-3 inning.
Sophomore Jacob Humphrey (Standish, Maine) and Robert Gallagher drew back-to-back walks to open the game. The pair pulled off the double steal to put runners on second and third for Alex Luccini. The sophomore drilled a three-run shot to right field to put the River Hawks on the board. After another walk, Ryan Proto double to right center to score senior Trey Brown (Rochester, N.Y.), making it a 4-0 game.
Nick DiRito threw a quick first inning with one strikeout and got some defensive help from Ryan Proto who threw out a runner at second to end the frame. Back-to-back RBI doubles from Fritz Genther and Alex Luccini scored three runs to extend the lead to 7-0. Proto’s sacrifice fly to bring in UMass Lowell’s eighth run of the game. DiRito then threw a 1-2-3 second with one strikeout to bring the offense back to the plate.
A throwing error allowed Gerry Siracusa to score in the third, pushing the lead to 9-0 while DiRito continued to dominate on the mound. The freshman struck out three through three innings while allowing one hit. Genther’s sixth home run of the year put the River Hawks by a commanding 10 runs. The Great Danes got one back in the fifth to cut the lead to nine.
The hits kept coming as the River Hawks tacked on another run from two hits in the sixth inning to restore the 1-run advantage. UAlbany scored two in the sixth to cut the lead to eight. Shane Bogli came in to close out the sixth and returned for the seventh inning after the River Hawks were kept off the board.
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh, Michael Simes entered the game for Bogli. The hosts tacked on three more runs to make it an 11-6 game through seven. UMass Lowell left three stranded in the eighth. Simes escaped a bases-loaded jam to send the game to the ninth, still with an 11-6 lead.
LJ Keevan made his first appearance since March 29 in the ninth inning, looking to close out the game for the River Hawks. The sophomore threw a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout to secure the win and the series for UMass Lowell.
The River Hawks will host Merrimack midweek before traveling to UMBC for conference series at the weekend.
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