Baseball completes home slate with Senior Day setback to regionally-ranked UMass Lowell

COLCHESTER, Vt. - In its final home contest of the season, the Saint Michael's College baseball team grabbed a first-inning lead on regionally-ranked University of Massachusetts at Lowell on Sunday before falling by a 7-3 count at Doc Jacobs Field during Senior Day. The Purple Knights fell to 10-22 overall and 3-11 in the Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division, while the River Hawks are 24-15 and 6-6. UMass Lowell is ranked ninth in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) East Region poll.

First-year Matt Feeney (Portsmouth, N.H./Portsmouth) doubled and scored for the hosts, while junior Nick Nelson (Spofford, N.H./Keene) doubled in a run. During his final collegiate home contest, senior Jacob Begnoche (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) scored twice and stole a base. Junior Nick Myers (Canton, Conn./The Master's School) took a no-decision despite yielding just one earned run in five-plus innings, striking out four and not issuing a walk. First-year Curt Echo (Shelburne, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) suffered the loss, allowing three runs in 2.1 frames of relief.

Sophomore Jacob O'Keefe (Wellington, Fla./American Heritage Boca/Delray) was 3-for-5 with three runs and a double for UMass Lowell, while redshirt senior James Katsiroubas (Milton, Mass./Milton) was 2-for-3 with two RBIs while reaching base four times. Redshirt junior Garrett Cole (Bedford, N.H./Trinity) did not allow an earned run during a complete-game effort, surrendering three hits while striking out six and walking two.

Feeney led off the game with a double before scoring on a two-out miscue, and Nelson drilled a two-bagger of his own to right center as the next batter to plate Feeney and make it 2-0 in the first inning.

Myers pitched out of trouble a handful of times during the day. After an unearned run came home for UMass Lowell in the second, Myers struck out the final batter of the third inning with the bases loaded.

A two-out sacrifice fly knotted the game in the fourth, bringing in another unearned run, before strong defense from sophomore shortstop Don McGuirl (Warwick, R.I./Saint Sebastian's School) kept the River Hawks off the board in the fifth. With runners at first and second and no one out, McGuirl dove to knock down a ball hit behind second base before getting the batter at first base, in the process keeping UMass Lowell from scoring on the play. The next hitter's ground ball took a hop off of third baseman Feeney, with the ball redirected to a charging McGuirl, who threw to the plate and cut down the go-ahead run. Junior catcher Chris Puliafico (Sharon, Mass./Sharon) secured a tag despite being jarred by a runner.

UMass Lowell scored a two-out run in the sixth to snag a 3-2 lead, but Begnoche stole second in the home half, moved to third on a wild pitch, and came around on an outfield throwing error. However, the visitors got the run right back in the seventh, again scoring with two down, and Katsiroubas' two-run double pushed the margin to 6-3 in the eighth.

Prior to the game, the Purple Knights honored their three seniors, with Begnoche, Andrew DuPrat (Fairfax, Vt./BFA-Fairfax) and Andrew Kelley (Lincoln, N.H./Lin-Wood) all being recognized.

Saint Michael's heads to Middlebury College on Tuesday for a 2 p.m. doubleheader.