BROOKLINE, Mass. — While the fences behind the white lines were lined with large mounds of snow, UMass Lowell was red-hot with the bats on Wednesday afternoon.
The River Hawks pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of three Northeastern errors to break a five-game losing skid with a 11-9 win at Friedman Diamond. Lowell scored runs in six of nine innings, but had to climb out from a 7-3 deficit in the third inning to take the victory.
UML suffered a 7-6 defeat to Bryant on Tuesday, its fourth straight loss by one run, after it was unable to cash in with the bases loaded and just one out in the ninth inning.
“I think my team showed a lot of character today,” UML head coach Ken Harring said. “But we’ve been here before. The last four games were one-run losses; we’ve been down in those games and came back. We kind of climbed the mountain and couldn’t get over it, but we did.”
Four River Hawks mustered multiple-hit outings, including sophomore right fielder Ian Strom who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI before coming to the mound for his second save of the season.
Freshman Tim Fallon recorded his first collegiate win, allowing just one hit and striking out one in two innings of work.
“It feels good to get a win, break the streak and smile on the bus,” Strom said. “We work so hard all fall, all winter. To see games that close go the other way makes it that much more special.”
The teams got off to solid offensive starts in the first inning, eager to brush off tough losses as the Huskies dropped a 22-1 game to Boston College in their home opener.
After Northeastern freshman Brian Christian quickly retired the first two batters he faced, UML senior shortstop Danny Mendick was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a hard single to left field from classmate and third baseman Matthew Sanchez.
The Huskies jumped ahead by two runs in their first at-bat of the day, scoring three times on a pair of two out-hits.
UML rookie Jeffrey Peterson (Windham, N.H.) also started the first with a pair of quick outs but allowed a walk and hit a batter before a run-scoring ground rule double by left fielder Pat Madigan and right fielder Joey Scambia‘s double off the very top of the right field wall.
Sophomore catcher Brice Erickson reached on a one-out single in the second inning and scored two batters later as sophomore designated hitter Zack Tower launched his first home run of the season over the left field fence, putting the River Hawks back ahead.
The Huskies scored four times while sending ten men to the plate in the third. Madigan, whose on-base streak extended to 16 straight games, recorded his second straight run-scoring hit before sophomore Max Frawley (Billerica, Mass.) unleashed a pair of bases-loaded walks that plated runs.
Also of note for NU, redshirt junior Josh Treff (Salem, N.H.) reached base in his first two plate appearances and scored both times as the designated hitter while freshman second baseman Maxwell Burt (North Andover, Mass.) also walked and scored.
“It’s just frustrating. Obviously, the team is struggling right now,” Treff said after the Huskies’ seventh straight setback. “We come out, swing the bats pretty good today but we don’t pitch it as well as we normally have been.”
UML got a couple runs back in the fifth on a bunt single to the third base side by Strom and a RBI grounder by senior Jimmy Ricoy (Lowell, Mass.) sandwiched between third baseman Matthew Sanchez scoring on a wild pitch.
The Huskies were again quick to respond in the bottom half of the frame as center fielder Michael Foster launched a two-run shot off River Hawk freshman Chaz Kaps, his second home run of the season, straight over the left field wall.
From there, three River Hawk pitchers combined to hold off the Huskies. Fallon and sophomore Steve Xirinachs faced the minimum over the sixth through eighth before Strom fanned a pair around a hit and a walk in the ninth.
“We hadn’t had that in a while,” Harring said. “We’re walking a lot of guys right now, but I thought those two guys really settled the game down and gave us an opportunity to win.”
Fallon allowed a leadoff hit in the seventh, but snagged NU second baseman Nolan Lang’s line shot back to the mound for a double play ball that emptied the bases and sent him to an unconventional three up-three down inning.
Ricoy hit an RBI single in the seventh before the River Hawks plated two runs off two hits and as many errors in the next frame. Junior left fielder Joe Consolmagno reached on an error to score the first run, while Strom bounced a two-out single to right to plate senior center fielder Geoff DeGroot.
“We took advantage of a couple mistakes that Northeastern made and scored some runs, but we know how that feels,” Harring said. “We got a break to go our way today, but we grinded out at bats one through nine. I was really happy with the way we performed.”
NU sophomore Aaron Civale, who struck out four Boston Red Sox during the March 3 exhibition game in Fort Myers, Fla., fanned six River Hawks in 2.2 innings but was still charged with the defeat.
The River Hawks continue a grueling ten-game road swing this weekend, opening America East play with a Saturday doubleheader at Stony Brook.