LOWELL, Mass. – UMass-Lowell sophomore righty Shane Beauchemin (Manchester, N.H.) became the conference's first nine-game winner as the River Hawks topped Bentley University, 3-1, in Northeast-10 Northeast Division baseball action Saturday night at LeLacheur Park.
While the Falcons saw their hopes of a division title evaporate with their third straight loss, they did clinch the second seed in next week's NE-10 playoffs when Southern New Hampshire fell to divisional champion Franklin Pierce, 4-2, Saturday night. As a result, Bentley will host SNHU in a first-round game on Tuesday.
UMass-Lowell, which is still battling for a playoff berth, took an early lead with an unearned run in the first. Freshman right fielder Joe Consolmagno (Worcester) reached on a one-out error, moved up 90 feet on a walk and scored on back-to-back singles back to the mound.
Senior left fielder Pat Devlin (Tewksbury) led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to left, extending the River Hawk lead to 2-0.
Bentley's only run of the night was scored in the seventh. Junior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS) led off with a triple to left center and scored on a grounder to short by freshman DH Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth/Dighton-Rehoboth Reg. HS).
Lowell picked up an insurance run in the eighth, and like the one in the first, it was unearned. Following a leadoff walk, pinch-runner Louis Tarantino (Nashua, N.H.) stole second, advanced to third on an infield single and scored on the Falcons' fourth error of the night.
Bentley had seven hits in the game, but managed only one hit in 15 at bats with runners on base. Squandered opportunities came in the second (two on, one out), fifth (two on, no out) and eighth (two on, one out).
Nagy, who had a double in addition to his triple, and junior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) each had two hits for Bentley, and Devlin enjoyed a three-hit night for the River Hawks.
Beauchemin, now 9-0 on the year, walked three and struck out six in a complete game effort. Senior Jeff Croteau (Auburn/Auburn HS) took the loss for Bentley after giving up eight hits and two runs (one earned) in seven innings. The loss was his fourth of the year as compared to seven wins.
Bentley dropped to 26-19 overall and 13-7 in the division. UMass-Lowell, which needs to sweep the three-game series to have a shot at making the playoffs, improved to 29-19 overall and 10-10 division.
The two teams will conclude the series Sunday at 3 pm, also at LeLacheur Park.