ATLANTA, Ga. — There may still be feet of snow in Lowell, Massachusetts, but the UMass Lowell River Hawks baseball team got their 2015 season started on Friday afternoon in Atlanta, Georgia.
UMass Lowell took on Georgia State University in a non-conference matchup to get things start this year. However, the River Hawks were unable to pick up the win as the Panthers downed UMass Lowell, 5-3.
The River Hawks took an early 1-0 lead in the top of second, off a Luke Reynolds sacrifice fly that scored Matt Mottola. Mottola reached on a single and advanced to second when Zack Tower was hit by a pitch, he then got to third on a ground out.
The Panthers were held off the scoreboard until the bottom of the fourth, when they took the lead with two runs. James Clements doubled home Joey Roach to tie up the score, and later scored off a Ryan Blanton single.
Georgia State increased its lead to 4-1 in the seventh inning off a Roach double scoring Justin Jones. Matt Rose scored the fourth run off another sacrifice fly.
UMass Lowell climbed back into the game with two runs in the top of the eighth. With Matthew Sanchez on third after a walk and a balk, Danny Mendick flied out to left field for the sacrifice fly. Mottola then singled home Geoff DeGroot, who reached on a single.
The Panthers added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning off a Jones sacrifice fly. DeGroot and Mottola had all four of the River Hawks’ hits, hitting two singles apiece.
Christian Lavoie was handed the loss going 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He struck out and walked two batters each. Thulani Denaro and Max Frawley pitched in relief.
Nathan Bates won his second game of the year, and Kevin Burgee earned the save.
The teams will square off in a doubleheader tomorrow with first pitch of game one scheduled for 1:00 p.m. eastern.