River Hawks Split the Difference with Hartford
LOWELL -- The UMass Lowell baseball team battled to a split in Saturday afternoon’s America East doubleheader with Hartford played at LeLacheur Park.
The River Hawks (6-19, 3-3) took the middle game of the series, 3-2, while the Hawks (8-13, 4-2) rebounded to take the finale and the series with a 7-5 victory.
“It was a tough finish to a really good beginning,” commented UML coach Ken Harring. “Connor Metelski gave us a chance to win and Joshua Becker came in and did what he has been doing all year to get game one. In game two, Sal Fusco had his best stuff all year, but the wheels just came off in the fifth. We have to fix a few things if we want to get where we want this season. We grinded to the end and it was a tough split, but we get them again at the end of the May.”
In Game 1, the visitors took a 2-0 lead in the first inning but the duo of Connor Metelski and Joshua Becker (Burlington) combined to pitch eight shutout innings the rest of the way to pick up the win.
Trailing by two into the fourth inning, UMass Lowell saw a one-out rally load the bases following a hit by pitch, a single and walk. Oscar Marchena delivered the big hit with a two-run single into the gap in right center that scored Cam Climo (Billerica) and Steven Passatempo.
Three pitches later, freshman Robert Gallagher beat out a fielder’s choice to plate Vinnie Martin and give the River Hawks the lead for good.
Metelski settled down after the first inning to scatter two hits and strike out a pair over five innings to earn his first victory of the year. Becker recorded five strikeouts over the final four innings, including three straight in the top of the sixth with runners on second and third.
In Game 2, Hartford built a 7-1 buffer with a five-run fifth inning in the finale, before a furious rally from the River Hawks fell short with the potential winning run at the plate in the seventh.
UMass Lowell fell behind by two in the early innings, but cut the gap in half in the fourth when Martin reached on an error by the shortstop that sent Andrew Roden home from second after his double.
Following the Hawks’ big inning, the River Hawks scored a pair in the sixth to trim the deficit to 7-3 behind a Martin sac fly and a Marchena RBI single.
In the bottom of the seventh, Trip McCaffrey picked up his second hit off the bench, scoring Mark Tumosa all the way from first. One batter later, Climo singled to center to bring the hosts within a pair, but unfortunately the rally would end with runners on the corners.
The River Hawks return to LeLacheur Park on Tuesday to take on Rhode Island at 3 p.m.