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River Hawks clinch first series win on Senior Day

Seniors Taylor August, Marielle Handley, and Alyssa Zinkiewicz stand with Head Coach Danielle Henderson in the Senior Day tribute (Photo courtesy of Bob Ellis/Athletic Communications).

Hannah Manning

Connector Editor

The UMass Lowell softball team shut out the Hartford Hawks, 1-0, to win the weekend series on Sunday afternoon in River View Field.

Sunday’s contest was the first time this season that the River Hawks have won a series. Head Coach Danielle Henderson credits confidence in the seventh inning, and the “confidence playing as a team” as huge factors in the win.

The River Hawks advanced to a 10-36 record, with a 2-13 in the America East conference.

Freshman pitcher Kaysee Talcik allowed only two hits in five innings of play after taking over for senior Marielle Handley, who has missed much of the 2016 season due to illness.

Handley allowed three hits in two innings and delivered a strong performance on her Senior Day with her family in attendance.

Both pitchers were supported by outstanding defense. The River Hawks ended the top of the third inning in quick fashion, with three outs in four pitches. The passing was crisp, with barely any mistakes that would have allowed Hartford to take control in an already tough game. In the fourth inning, senior first base Alyssa Zinkiewicz got into a split to make a crucial catch from third base Taylor August in the last moment before a runner crossed the base.

The River Hawks took control of the game in the fourth inning, when they got their first hit of the game from sophomore Vanessa Cooper. Cooper doubled, and was switched out with sophomore pinch runner Colleen Frank. Frank snuck onto third, and then on the next hit got the River Hawks on the board, sliding home and just escaping getting called out. Frank’s good baserunning turned out to result in the River Hawk’s game-winning run.

Despite lagging 4-1 in hits before the fourth inning, the River Hawks crept up on Hartford, beginning the sixth inning with three hits in the game.

Hartford made two errors in the game, the first of which occurred when an infielder fumbled a catch that allowed sophomore Sam McQueen to grab the River Hawk’s first walk. The River Hawks finished the game errorless, a testament to how smoothly they were running the field.

The River Hawks shut the door on Hartford after securing a lead, ending the top of the fifth inning on a beautiful double play that squashed Hartford’s chance of sneaking onto the board. They had promising chances to extend their lead. Cooper hit a rocket in the bottom of the sixth inning that got her on first base.

The innings after the River Hawks scored were tense, and put tremendous pressure on Talcik to keep putting Hartford batters away. She handled it well, posting a 2.98 ERA and being an instrumental part in UMass Lowell ending Hartford’s innings early.

Henderson noted that the team had had trouble in previous games ending it in seven innings, but she credited the River Hawks for getting that done on Sunday in a well-played game, in front of a good-sized crowd saying goodbye to the team’s three seniors.

The River Hawks will be back in Lowell on Thursday at 4 PM against Boston College for their final home game after heading to Bryant on Wednesday.

Hannah Manning

Hannah Manning is the Editor in Chief of the UMass Lowell Connector. A native of Haverhill, Mass., she is a senior working towards her bachelor's in English with a concentration in journalism and professional writing. She likes hockey, music and her fellow staff members at the Connector.

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