KINGSTON, R.I. – The UMass Lowell baseball team (11-22, 5-7 AE) responded after Tuesday’s loss with a big win over the Rhode Island Rams (16-16, 6-3 A-10) on Wednesday afternoon. The win marks the first victory for the River Hawks over URI since March 11, 2014.
“It was a great bounce back after a disappointing loss last night,” said head coach Ken Harring. “Miles Cota was fantastic for the second week in a row and Alex Luccini continues to come up with big hits in big situations. I’m proud of the way we responded from yesterday.”
Sophomore Alex Luccini (Hopedale, Mass.) and senior Frank Wayman (Horseheads, N.Y.) led the way with two hits apiece. Luccini had a team-high five RBIs while Wayman scored two runs. Sophomore Jacob Humphrey (Standish, Maine) had one hit and two RBIs while graduate student Robert Gallagher (Mullica Hill, N.J.) scored a team-best three runs.
Senior Miles Cota (Hampstead, NC) was stellar on the mound, throwing 6.2 innings with no earned runs. Cota struck out four and allowed three walks and four hits to improve to 2-0 this season. Freshman Jacob Jette (Franklin, Mass.) went 1.1 innings with one strikeout while fellow freshman Michael Simes (Rutland, Mass.) closed the game for the River Hawks.
Jacob Humphreys’ leadoff single got things rolling early for the River Hawks. The speedy baserunner stole second before Robert Gallagher drew a walk and Gerry Siracusa was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The hottest hitter in the lineup, Alex Luccini, followed with a triple to left center to score three. Luccini would come in to score on a Trey Brown sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 in the first. Miles Cota threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the first to give UMass Lowell a great start to the game.
Frank Wayman opened the second with a leadoff single and stole second before Jake Fitzgibbons doubled to left field to make it 5-0. The River Hawks left two stranded in the second, but Cota made quick work in the bottom half, retiring the side in order.
Despite a leadoff single, Cota retired the next three hitters in the third to keep the River Hawks in front by five. Wayman’s leadoff single and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with nobody out once again for UMass Lowell. Gallagher drew another walk to score one and keep the bases loaded. Siracusa reached on a fielder’s choice as Fitzgibbons came in to score, pushing the lead to 7-0.
After a leadoff walk, Cota retired three straight hitters to end the fourth. Cota shut down the fifth after a leadoff single, retiring another three batters in a row to send the game to the sixth. A wild pitch with the bases loaded brought in Gallagher to push the UMass Lowell lead to eight runs. Cota forced two flyouts with two on to end the sixth in yet another scoreless inning for the senior.
The Rams got one back in the bottom of the seventh, scoring on a fielding error with two outs and the bases loaded. A hit by pitch tacked on another run for the hosts, making it an 8-2 game. Jacob Jette entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs to relieve Cota. A single up the middle scored two, bringing the Rams within four. Jette struck out Hopko to end the seventh.
UMass Lowell needed insurance runs late in the game and they got that from Alex Luccini once again. The sophomore came up clutch with a two-out double to right field to score two runs and restore a six-run lead for the River Hawks. Jette threw a 1-2-3 eighth, sending the game to the final frame.
Brandon Fish led the ninth with a single to left and advanced to second on a throwing error to put a runner in scoring position. A fielder’s choice scored two more to give the River Hawks an eight-run advantage. Michael Simes took over on the mound for the ninth. The Rams tacked on two more runs before Simes struck out Hopko to secure the win.
The River Hawks return to action on Friday night with the first of three games against UMBC.
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