WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior right-hander John Yohe (Merrick, N.Y./St. Dominic HS) recorded his fourth straight complete game victory and his teammates manufactured two runs in the second inning as Bentley University closed out the regular season with a 2-1 win over UMass-Lowell in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division baseball Sunday afternoon at DeFelice Field.
Bentley, ranked fifth in the NCAA Division II East Region, improved to 28-22 overall, 28-13 against regional opposition, and 13-8 in Northeast Division games while winning for the ninth time in the last 12 games. UMass-Lowell finished its season at 26-20-1 overall and 9-12 Northeast.
The Falcons, limited to four hits by a quintet of River Hawk pitchers, crammed all their scoring in the second inning with three walks playing a major roll. Senior DH Greg Baggett (East Bridgewater/East Bridgewater HS) and grad student Bryant Johnson (Hopedale/Milford HS) drew back-to-back free passes to start the inning, and after a fly ball, sophomore shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./ Locust Valley HS) lined a single to right-center, loading the bases.
Sophomore third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose/Malden Catholic HS) worked an eight-pitch walk to force in Baggett, and sophomore center fielder Sean Keady (Norwood/Norwood HS) followed with a bunt single to second that brought in Johnson from third.
The Falcons had only two more base runners the rest of the game, a leadoff walk in the third and an infield single by Keady in the eighth, but the two runs proved to be enough for Yohe, who was coming off a two-hit shutout of St. Michael's.
Yohe retired the first ten batters he faced and took a shutout into the fifth, extending his scoreless skein to 14.1 innings. Senior center fielder Matt Jacobs (Hudson) led off the River Hawk sixth with a single down the left field line, and freshman shortstop Geoff DeGroot (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) followed with a double to right, with Jacobs easily coming around from first. However, the ball got caught in the tarp and Jacobs was sent back to third.
After a grounder back to the mound and a hit batter, Jacobs scored on a grounder to short that left runners on the corners. Yohe preserved the lead by getting an inning-ending grounder to second.
Lowell also had runners on base in each of the final three innings, but only one reached as far as second.
Yohe, now 6-5 on the season with a 3.28 ERA, finished with a seven-hitter, one walk and six strikeouts. Freshman Jake Finnegan (Londonderry, N.H.) took the loss after giving up three hits and three walks in two innings, but four River Hawk relievers limited Bentley to just one hit in six innings.
Bentley will be the fourth seed out of the Northeast Division in the conference playoffs and will play at top-seeded Saint Anselm Tuesday in a single-elimination first-round game