No. 4 Seed Earned by UML
STONY BROOK, N.Y. — UMass Lowell earned the number four seed in the America East Baseball Tournament with a lethal mixture of timely hitting and shutdown pitching as the River Hawks defeated first-place Stony Brook, 8-1, Saturday afternoon at Joe Nathan Field.
UMass Lowell, winners of seven of their last eight, finish the regular season with a 19-34 record but more significantly at 12-12 record in conference play. The River Hawks started the day in a fifth-place tie but jumped into fourth place with the win coupled with losses by both Maine and Hartford. Stony Brook closes out the regular season with a 28-21 record overall and 15-9 in conference play. The Seawolves are the top seed but dropped two out of three to UMass Lowell in the season-ending series.
“We’re playing our best baseball right now,” said UMass Lowell head coach Ken Harring. “And it’s the most important time of the year.”
Senior Michael Young (Chester, N.J.) and junior Ciaran Devenney (Manalapan, N.J.) were the offensive stars while right-handers sophomore Henry Funaro (Lowell) and graduate student Sean O’Neill (Reading) combined to allow just two hits.
UMass Lowell starter Henry Funaro went a strong five innings allowing just one-run on one-hit. Funaro, who has struggled with his command at time during the season, did walk six while striking out four. He worked out of a couple of anxious moments.
“He was just grinding away,” said Harring. “He gave us an opportunity to win. He showed his mental toughness and that was good for the team.”
Funaro picked up his first win of the season.
Sean O’Neill followed Funaro to the mound. Harring hoped O’Neill could give the ball club two solid inning. The coach got much more than he hoped for. O’Neill earned a save with four innings of one-hit baseball.
The America East Baseball Championship Tournament, a double elimination affair, starts on Wednesday, May 22 on the campus of Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y.. The River Hawks will open the tournament with an 11:00am game against Maine. The Championship Game is scheduled for Saturday.