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River Hawks baseball strikes back after rough start

(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics) “Catcher Ryan Proto during game versus UMaine.”

Sarah Mahannah
Connector Editor

The University of Massachusetts Lowell baseball team has had a rough start to their 2023 spring season as the River Hawks currently have a record of 4-20.

Over the weekend of March 24, the Binghamton Bearcats hosted the River Hawks for a 3-game series. UMass Lowell fought hard but fell short to their opponent in every game, starting on March 24 with the conference opener at the Bearcat Sports Complex in Binghamton, New York.

Sophomore utility player Alex Luccini and sophomore infielder/outfielder Jacob Humphrey had overall great days at the plate as they tallied four and three hits respectively. Two of Humphrey’s three hits were home runs, which extended his hit streak to a total of ten games.

The pitchers of the first game against the Bearcats were spectacular. Pitcher Matt Draper started and struck out five but let two runs go. Freshman pitcher Michael Simes had one strikeout and let go of two runs. Pitcher Joshua Becker struck out two and let go of one run.

However, Binghamton earned more runs than the River Hawks as Bearcats’ players outfielder Cavan Tully, outfielder Mike Gunning, first-baseman Kevin Gsell, second-baseman Nick Roselli and catcher Kevin Reilly all earned runs which left the score 5-4 in Binghamton’s favor at the end of the eleventh inning.

The second and third games of the series versus Binghamton were still tough fights for the River Hawks as they would go 5-6 in the second game and 5-8 in the third.

Leading the charge for the first of the doubleheaders on Sunday was junior infielder Fritz Genther who had two hits and a solo home run. Senior outfielder Trey Brown gave the River Hawks two runs as he led the team in RBI and graduate infielder Robert Gallagher and sophomore infielder/outfielder Conor Kelly earned an RBI and a hit to the game.

The River Hawks would not be able to hold off the Bearcats for too long, as Binghamton would come back strong and soar past the River Hawks after the second inning. Binghamton players Cavan Tully, Mike Gunning, infielder Devan Bade, Kevin Gsell and short stop Isaiah Corry led their team past their opponent.

Pitcher Nick DiRito had a rough afternoon, allowing five hits and five earned runs within 3.2 innings, but he did have one strikeout. Pitcher Brendan Williams had one strike-out within 2.0 innings.

Game two of the doubleheader was also a loss for Lowell. Fritz Genther had three hits and two RBIs. Alex Luccini added a two-run home run along with scoring a run himself. Jacob Humphrey, senior catcher Ryan Proto and Trey Brown all added one run. However, the Bearcats would come back and win the game and sweep the series.

The River Hawks left their conference opening weekend in New York in defeat but kept their heads held high. UMass Lowell kept strong in preparation to change their luck in their next game against Stonehill College.

The River Hawks went home to LeLacheur Park on Wednesday, March 29 where they would play a strong game and win 10-3 against the Stonehill Skyhawks.

Alex Luccini and graduate pitcher/outfielder Gerry Siracusa both had two hits to lead the team. Fritz Genther brought in three runs and freshman infielder/outfielder Trevor Crosby scored his first collegiate hit.

On the mound, sophomore pitcher LJ Keevan earned his first win of the season to improve his record to 1-5 while freshman pitcher Brian Foley ended the ninth inning with two strikeouts.

Ryan Proto put Lowell on the scoreboard in the first inning with a single to center that brought Siracusa and Robert Gallagher home for an early 2-0 lead. Genther would bring the score to 3-0 at the end of the first with a double play. 

Stonehill started to come back but Lowell’s offense was stronger than the Skyhawks defense, bringing the score to 10-3 by the end of the ninth.

The River Hawks faced off against the UMaine Black Bears in a three-game series this past weekend. Unfortunately, the River Hawks lost all three games and bring their record to 0-6 in America East with 20 losses on the season.

UMass Lowell would escape with the win and improve their record to four wins on the season. They look ahead to Dartmouth on Tuesday, April 4 before returning to LeLacheur Park on Friday against Bryant for their conference home opener.

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