UMass Lowell

UMass Lowell Evens Series With 8-1 Win Over NJIT

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What a difference a day makes. On Friday afternoon, the UMass Lowell River Hawks (22-26, 11-11) had a difficult time throwing strikes to NJIT (20-25, 9-10) hitters. Eleven walks, seven from the River Hawks bullpen, tell the story. On Saturday afternoon, a much different performance by the pitching staff led to a River Hawks victory by an 8-1 score over NJIT

Saturday’s game was a total team effort. UMass Lowell pitched well with three hurlers allowing only one run on four hits. After the game, their coach Nick Barese said, “We challenged the bullpen after Friday’s game.” The message was received and the response was what the coach was looking for. The offense was also good, with ten hits, and eight runs. They left only five men on base for the game and Fritz Genther and Ryan Proto were the only players that did not have hits. Three members of the starting lineup had multi-hit games. Connor Kelly, Alex Luccini, and River Hart all had two-hit games. Hart also stole home as part of a 2-run fourth inning. On the field, the River Hawks played error-free baseball—a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon on the diamond.

Maybe the best news from Saturday’s game is that the River Hawks have two arms they will need back on the mound in time for postseason play. After Alfred Mucciarone went the first three and gave up the lone run to the Highlanders. Barese said, ” We did not want Mucciarone going through the lineup two or three times.” Brendan Williams (2-5) came on in the fourth. Williams has been battling a bit of a sore arm this spring but went the next five and looked sharp. He allowed one hit, zero runs, two walks, and had two strikeouts. His outing was much needed and his reward was being the winning pitcher on Saturday.

Another good sign for River Hawks fans was an appearance by Dylan Bedder, who also has been battling injuries this spring. His last time on the bump was back on March 16 vs Penn State where he went a third of an inning.  On Saturday, Bedder came on in the ninth and faced three batters striking out two of them. A good sign for the future.

UMass Lowell took care of this game in two innings. A six-run third where they batted around against the starter and loser Holden de Jong (3-6). The UMass Lowell lineup came up with six hits and they took advantage of a Highlanders error, and three wild pitches from de Jong (13 on the year) that plated two runs for the River Hawks.

In the fourth, they pushed across two more runs. An error by Highlander’s second baseman Ty Sallie, on a Brandon Fish ground ball, opened the floodgates for UMass Lowell. There was a steal of home by Hart, his fourth steal of the season. de Jong’s final line was not great: 3.2 IP, 7 hits, 8 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and four strikeouts. Those strikeouts came in succession as he got the final two outs of the first, then the first two outs of the second on K’s. 

UMass Lowell will look to take the series on Sunday afternoon as they play their final conference game of the season. Senior Miles Cota will get the baseball and start for UMass Lowell. 

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