NCAA baseball: UMass Lowell lets one slip to Albany

LOWELL – The UMass Lowell River Hawks baseball team made too many mental mistakes and dropped the rubber match of their weekend series with the Albany Great Danes, 4-2, Sunday at LeLacheur Park.

With the score tied 1-1 in the fifth, the Great Danes (15-20, 4-7 America East) capitalized on a walk, a hit batter and an error by the River Hawks to score three runs with the aid of just one hit. Karson Canaday (1-for-2, two walks, two runs scored) scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, and Kyle Sacks drove in the eventual winning on a ground out despite going 0-for-5 on the day. Evan Harata (2-for-3) drove in the fourth Albany run with a two-out RBI single.

The River Hawks (17-18, 5-9 America East) got a run back in the eighth on an RBI single by freshman Steve Passatempo, extending his team-leading total to 33. They set themselves up for a win in the bottom of the ninth with runners on first and second and one out, but Ben Prada popped out to short, and then the crazy finish came on the next batter.

Ian Storm hit a single to right, and River Hawks head coach Ken Harring tried to hold up pinch runner Tyler Noe at third, but he ran through the stop sign and got caught in a pickle that resulted in a 9-2-6-2-5 put out to give the Great Danes the win.

“It was one of those games where it was an accumulation of our mistakes and them putting us in that position in the ninth inning,” Harring said. “To beat teams like this in conference play you have to make routine plays, and we just didn’t make them today.”

Marcus Failing earned the win for Albany. He went six innings and allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out three and allowing one run on 76 pitches, 50 for strikes.

The River Hawks opened the scoring in the bottom of the seventh without the aid of a hit. Ian Strom drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a couple of ground balls, then stole home while Albany starter Marcus Failing was into his windup.

The River Hawks bullpen did its part to keep the game close. Nick Rand, Cam Lanzilli and Brendan long combined to work four scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing just two hits.

Nick Kuzia took the loss for the River Hawks. In five innings of work he allowed all four Albany runs (two earned), allowed six hits and walked two batters while striking out three on 77 pitches, 49 for strikes.

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