There were plenty of things to like about Friday afternoon’s game at LeLacheur Park. The UMass Lowell River Hawks (18-33, 10-13) banged out 17 hits, stole five bases, and received very good starting pitching from sophomore LJ Keevan. But the best news for River Hawks fans is they played a clean game on the field. Add that all up and it was a good day for UMass Lowell as they ended a 5-game losing streak with a 17-7 win over the Binghamton Bearcats (26-20, 12-11). The damage was done vs maybe the best pitcher in the league, Gabe Driscoll. He went 2.1 IP, gave up nine hits, seven earned runs, and four strikeouts. He simply did not have it on Friday and suffered his first loss of the year (7-1).
It starts with the work done on the mound by Keevan (3-5). He went 5.1 IP and gave up seven hits, three earned runs, four walks, and four strikeouts to get the win. He threw 108 pitches, 64 of them for strikes. He had three innings of three up, three down pitching. Through five, he allowed only three hits and was in charge the whole afternoon. His head coach Ken Harring said afterward, “LJ is back” and with the conference tournament coming up in a few days that is really good news for a team that needs some positive reinforcements. On offense, the news is also good. Seven of the nine hitters had hits, RBI, and runs scored. The top four hitters in the River Hawks lineup did the most damage. SS Jacob Humphrey, 2B Robert Gallagher, DH Fritz Genther, and catcher Ryan Proto went a combined 13-for-19 with 10 runs scored, and 9 RBI. The group had five extra base hits in the game and also stole three bases as well. Humphrey had three of those XBH, two triples, and a double. He now leads the league in triples with five. Genther hit his eighth HR of the season in the first to get the scoring started, a towering blast over the wall in left-center field. It was part of a three RBI day for him. Proto also had a three RBI day on a double and two singles. Humphrey did the same. The River Hawks had two big frames. A six-run sixth in which 11 men came to the plate. There were only two hits, but they did have five walks. In the eighth, they sent eight men to the plate with four of them scoring. In the inning, there were three hits and two more walks. Binghamton pitchers on the day walked eight.
Keevan’s rough inning was the sixth, but at this point, he was up 7-0. However, he was running out of gas. The inning started with a HR from Nick Rosell to right field, his 10th of the year. The blast broke up the shutout. One out later, he gave up a single to left from Mike Gunning. Devan Bade then doubled to center to bring home Gunning. For Bade, the hit was part of a 3-for-5, 2 RBI, 1 RS game. After a walk to Andrew Tan, Kevin Reilly brought home the third run of the inning with a single to right field. Keevan was done and the River Hawks bullpen took over. Frankie Venezia and Miles Cota took care of the next 2.2 innings allowing only one hit. In the ninth, the Bearcats did put up a four-spot against the combination of Drew Haight and Shane Bogil. Haight had the rougher of the time as he never got an out and allowed three earned runs on one hit. He faced only three batters before he was lifted. The final score from the ballpark was UMass Lowell 17 Binghamton 7.
After the game, the coach was pleased with all phases of his team’s performance. For the River Hawks to be successful in the upcoming America East Tournament, Friday’s effort will have to be repeated. On Saturday morning, the final game of the 2023 regular season will be played. Zach Rodgers gets the ball for UMass Lowell. Ryan Bryggman will start for Binghamton. First pitch is at 10 AM.
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