After any ballgame, it is usually very easy to chat with UMass Lowell River Hawks head coach Ken Harring. On Saturday afternoon at LeLacheur Park, words with the head coach were not necessary. That’s because his team got taken to the woodshed by the Hofstra Pride (25-24). The 20-4 loss by the River Hawks (17-30) reads as bad as it looks. If the team was “A little flat” on Friday night, their performance on Saturday was worse. The River Hawks defense made seven errors on the afternoon and it accounted for six unearned runs. The twenty total runs allowed matched their season high for runs allowed. That occurred back on opening day vs South Carolina on February 17. While there is a mercy rule in college baseball, it will not be used in this series. On Saturday, they could have rethought that idea.
The Pride had the leadoff hitter on in eight of the nine innings played. Every hitter in their lineup had at least one hit. Leadoff hitter Dylan Palmer had eight total at-bats for the game. He was credited with five because he walked three times. The number two hitter, Santino Russo also had eight total plate appearances, and he was credited with six. If you were a member of the Hofstra Pride baseball team, this was a day you were fighting to get a chance to bat so you could pad your stats. Hofstra scored crooked numbers in every inning but the seventh and ninth. Swinging the bat and running the bases may have tired them out. That’s how bad the River Hawks played.
The seven errors are inexcusable at any level, never mind division one baseball. Five of the seven errors were committed by the River Hawks infield. It forced every pitcher that threw for Lowell to make extra pitches. With the way Hofstra was swinging the bat, that was not a good thing. Joshua Becker (4-3) was UMass Lowell’s starting pitcher on Saturday. After two really strong performances vs Maine and NJIT, he fell victim to the Pride bats and poor play behind him. His line of two innings was six hits, five runs, and only one earned run tell a lot. He threw strikes but got no help. The two pitchers that followed him to the mound really had problems. Hayden Duke and Zach Fortuna combined to give up 13 hits and 12 earned runs. It was that kind of a day for the River Hawks.
Hofstra starting pitcher Mark Faelio (6-6) was the beneficiary of the Pride offense. He went five, gave up seven hits, two earned runs, three walks, and four strikeouts. He did what you are supposed to do with a big lead. Throw strikes and force UMass Lowell hitters to put the ball in play. Four pitchers came out of the Pride pen to throw four innings of three-hit, two-earned run baseball. At the plate, Hofstra was led by Russo’s 4-for-5 day, 3 RS, 3 RBI, and 1B Ryan Morash who was 5-For-5, 5 RBI, and 2 RS. Pride hitters walked nine times. Seven of those walks came from Hayden Duke in 2.2 innings of work for the River Hawks.
The bright spot for the River Hawks came from Trey Brown who was honored before the game with his senior day plaque. He then went 3-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 RS. Leadoff hitter Jacob Humphrey continues to swing a hot bat of late. He went 2-for-5 with a triple, and a run scored. Sometimes a beat down like the one UMass Lowell just took can be the kind of wake-up call a team needs late in the season. Sunday afternoon we will find out as LJ Keevan gets the ball to try and slow down this Hofstra lineup. The first pitch is at noon.
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