After losing to UMass Tuesday, the 280th team out of 300 in RPI, UConn needed a win in the worst way before heading south to play the East Carolina Pirates, ranked 20th in the D1Baseball.com poll.
UConn got its 20th win of the season, improving the record to 20-16. This is the Huskies' 20th consecutive season with at least 20 wins, a streak dating back to the 1996 season.
Jack Riley made his first career start and, despite light offensive support, held down the fort. He went 5.0 innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out five and walking two.
The Huskies managed seven hits, three by Bobby Melley. Willy Yahn knocked a single to bring his hitting streak to 12 games.
CJ Dandeneau, PJ Poulin, Devin Over and Pat Ruotolo, who got the save, scattered another four hits and a run over the final four innings with eight strikeouts against two walks. Dandeneau led the relievers with four strikeouts in only 1.2 innings of work.
UMass Lowell got on the board first, in the fourth. Chris Sharpe led off with a single and was able to steal second. After two strikeouts, he scored on a two-out single by Russ Olive. After four full innings, the River Hawks had the lead. But it wouldn't last long.
UConn scored three in the next half-inning. The Huskies sent eight men to the plate and had four of their seven hits in a very productive frame.
Tyler Gnesda singled to lead off the inning, then advanced on a balk. John Toppa was able to single into the right-center gap, scoring Gnesda. He also made the heads-up play of taking second on the throw home.
Toppa took third on a wild pitch and was able to score when Aaron Hill lined out to center. Toppa tagged up and scored on an errant throw home. UConn now had the lead, 2-1.
Sundberg reached on an error and advanced to second on a Willy Yahn single. The next batter, Bobby Melley, singled into left and Sundberg came around to score. Yahn was on third, giving Joe DeRoche-Duffin runners on the corners with two down. He popped to second, and the inning ended with UConn ahead, 3-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, the River Hawks got a run back after getting two quick outs. Ben Prada singled, and after a wild pitch by PJ Poulin, came around to score on a Joe Consolmango single. It was 3-2 Huskies after seven.
Bobby Melley led off the top half of the eighth with a double and scored on a Tyler Gnesda single to left-field to make it 4-2. UMass Lowell failed to get a runner into scoring position against closer Patrick Ruotolo as the game ended at that score.
UConn heads to East Carolina for a weekend series against the Pirates. First pitch on Friday is at 6:30 p.m., 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.