The Black Bears were back in action on Friday as they hosted Manhattan College in a doubleheader on Friday. Maine would would take the first game by a 3-1 score in what was a pitchers duel.
Neither team could get anything going for the first three innings of the game, as Maine starter, third-year right hander Justin Courtney and Manhattan starter in third-year lefty Tom Cosgrove traded zeros for the first three innings.
Maine would strike first in the fourth, as third-year catcher Christopher Bec led off the fourth with a double down the left field line. After advancing to third on a passed ball, Bec would come home on a groundout by fourth-year right fielder Tyler Schwanz, giving the Black Bears a 1-0 lead.
Manhattan would strike back in the top of the fifth. Third-year first baseman Michael Pfenninger roped a double to center with one out. With two outs, third-year right fielder Brendan Bisset roped a single to center, scoring Pfenninger and tying the game at 1-1. Bisset was gunned down down by Bec when he tried to advance to second on the throw.
Second-year shortstop Jeremy Pena led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single. After two groundouts advanced him to third, Pena would come home to score as Schwanz reached on an error by Manhattan’s first-year third baseman Alex Cerda. The error would extend the inning and the Black Bear lead to 2-1.
That run would be enough for Courtney, who would pitch a complete game, giving up one run on seven hits while striking out seven en route to his third win of the season.
However, it would not be the end of the scoring for the Black Bears. Third-year center fielder Brandon Vicens led off the seventh with a bunt single, but an ill-advised throw to first by Cosgrove that ended up down the right field line sent him all the way to third. A sacrifice fly would plate Vicens and give the Black Bears a 3-1 lead.
This would be Courtney’s best start of the season, after chucking eight scoreless against Hartford the week before. This was true for a team that the Black Bears were facing for the first time in seventeen years, but Courtney did not see a need to change his approach.
“Today I wanted to pitch to my strengths. I knew fastball location would be a big part of my game today. I was just trying to stay within my game and it worked out well today,” Courtney said.
Cosgrove would go eight innings for the Jaspers, giving up three unearned runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five.
Black Bears drop game two of doubleheader
The Black Bears were looking to take game two of the doubleheader Friday from Mahaney Diamond. It would not come to be, as Manhattan would walk off the field victorious, winning 6-4.
Manhattan would strike first in the second inning. Second-year catcher Fabian Pena reached on an error by Maine’s first-year third baseman Cody Pasic. With one out, third-year center fielder Adam Genners singled on a bunt. Fourth-year second baseman Matt Forlow followed that up with a triple to left, plating Pena and Genners to give the Jaspers a 2-0 lead.
Manhattan would tack on another run in the top of the third. Bisset was hit by a pitch from Maine’s starter, third-year Jonah Normandeau, with one out. Fourth-year left fielder Jason Patnick singled to send Bisset to third and Pena would bring Bisset home with a single to center, putting the Jaspers up 3-0.
Maine would rally in the bottom of the fourth. Second-year Caleb Kerbs reached on an error to beginning the inning. Pasic then laced a double down the right field line, scoring Kerbs and putting the Black Bears on the board, 3-1. A single by Jeremy Pena would put runners on the corner, with nobody out and a single by second-year left fielder Colin Ridley plated Pasic, making the score 3-2. A sacrifice bunt would put two men in scoring position and a ground out by Schwanz would tie the game at 3-3. Third-year designated hitter Jonathan Bennett would plate Ridley with a double, giving the Black Bears their first lead of the day at 4-3.
The back and forth action continued, as Manhattan would retake the lead in the top of the sixth. Second-year first baseman Richie Barrella would get plunked with one out to get on base. Pfenninger tripled down the right field line, plating Barrella and tying the game up at 4-4. Following an intentional walk, Bisset laced a single to plate Pfenniger and give the Jaspers the lead back, running the score to 5-4.
Manhattan would add an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Third-year center fielder Brandon Valls reached on an error. With two outs, Pfenninger roped a single to left, plating Valls and giving the Jaspers a 6-4 lead.
Normandeau’s outing was fairly short, going three innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits while striking out just two. He would leave with elbow discomfort and the status for his next start up in the air.
Black Bears sweep Saturday slugfest
The Black Bears took the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Manhattan College at Mahaney Diamond, downing the Jaspers 18-13 in a wild one.
A monster first inning set the tone for the Black Bears. Jeremy Pena led things off with a single. Bec laced a double to right center, bringing Pena home from first to put Maine on the board, 1-0. After the second out was recorded, the floodgates opened. Third-year designated hitter Jonathan Bennett poked a single to left, scoring Bec to extend the lead to 2-0. After Vicens drew a walk, first-year first baseman Hernen Sardinas laced another double, driving in two and doubling the Black Bears lead to 4-0. Kerbs laced a single off of the glove of Pfenninger, plating Sardinas to put the Black Bears up 5-0. Kerbs would be gunned down at second, but the damage was already done.
Schwanz got the third inning started with a single and then moved up to second on a wild pitch by Jaspers starter, fourth-year right hander Matt Simonetti. Bennett would plate him with a single to put the Black Bears up 6-0. After Vicens moved him over with a bunt, followed by a single by Sardinas, Kerbs plated Bennett with a sacrifice fly, extending the Black Bear lead to 7-0. Simonetti had Sardinas picked off of first base, but a throwing error by Barrella kept the inning alive. Maine threatened to put another run across after a wild pitch, but Simonetti struck Pasic to end the inning.
Manhattan struck back in the top of the fourth. Patnick led off with a single. Forlow followed with a one out single to left. After a strikeout, the Jaspers finally got to Maine starter, first-year right hander Cody Lawyerson. Third-year catcher Ryan Gronlier laced a double to center, plating Patnick and Forlow to put the Jaspers on the board, 7-2. A single by Barrella plated Gronlier to make the score 7-3.
Maine was able to answer back in the bottom half of the inning. Ridley started the rally as he picked up a one out single and then coming into score on a double by Bec, putting the Black Bears ahead 8-3. Schwanz would then get hit by a pitch, marking the end of the line for Simonetti. A single by Vicens off of Jaspers relief pitcher, third-year left handed pitcher Steve Arntsen extended lead to 9-3 Black Bears. A bases loaded walk by Kerbs gave the Black Bears a 10-3 lead. Pasic would get plunked to bring home another run, making the lead 11-3. Pena cleared the bases with a double to the left field fence and the Black Bear lead would balloon to 14-3. The inning mercifully ended with a groundout by Ridley, but the damage was already done.
Manhattan had some life in the top of the fifth, drawing a walk and blooping in a single, but Lawyerson was able to wiggle out of any trouble, getting a flyout and inducing a double play to snuff out any life the Jaspers had.
The Black Bears’ offensive assault continued in the bottom half of the inning. Bec walked to start the inning, then Schwanz doubled after the pitching change, sending Bec to third. A sacrifice fly by Bennett plated Bec and moved Schwanz to third, running the score to 15-3. A sacrifice fly by Vicens plated Schwanz and extended the Black Bear lead to 16-3.
Manhattan was able to chip into the deficit off of the Black Bears reliever first-year right hander Ryan Worthington. Forlow led off with a single, then stole second. Valls singled to put runners on the corners. Gronlier drew a walk to load the bases. Barrella plated two to cut the Black Bear lead down to 16-5. Pfenninger would single to reload the bases. Worthington would get the first out with a strikeout, but Bisset laced a double to left field, clearing the bases and getting the score to 16-8 Black Bears. A walk to Patnick would be it for Worthington, who was replaced by first-year right hander Matt Pushard. A single kept the inning alive, but Pushard was able to end the threat by inducing a flyout.
The Black Bears struck back in the bottom half of the sixth. Pasic drew a one out walk and with two outs, Ridley drew another walk. Bec would rip a single, scoring Pasic to make the score 17-8. After a pitching change, Schwanz would reach on a throwing error by Pfenninger, which would bring Ridley home to give them an 18-8 lead.
Manhattan was able to capitalize on third-year pitcher Chris Murphy in the top of the ninth. After hitting Patnick, walking Fabian Pena and hitting Forlow, Valls roped a triple down the left field line, clearing the bases and making the score 18-11 for the Black Bears.
After finally recording his first out, Murphy unleashed a wild pitch to score Valls, making the score 18-12 Maine. Murphy would be replaced by second-year left hander Eddie Emerson after drilling Barrella. Emerson would have his own issues, hitting Pfenninger. After inducing an infield fly, Emerson gave up a single to Bisset, plating Barrella, but the game would mercifully end when Pfenninger was cut down trying to take third with Ridley’s throw to the plate cut off by Pasic, who would flip to Pena to get the out and ultimately end the charade.
Lawyerson would pick up the win in his first start of the season, giving up three earned runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts over five innings. Simonetti would get pegged with the loss for Manhattan, giving up eight earned on ten hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 3.1 innings.
Black Bears complete Saturday sweep
The Black Bears were on a mission to sweep the doubleheader against Manhattan College on Saturday at the Mahaney Diamond. They did exactly that, taking game two of the twinbill 10-6.
Manhattan struck first in the top of the first inning. Bisset laced a one out single, then stole second. After a hit batsmen, Fabian Pena rocked a double to left, plating two and giving the Jaspers a 2-0 lead on Maine’s starter in third-year right hander John Arel. Arel would settle down, picking up a strikeout and inducing a weak pop out to stop the bleeding.
The Black Bears answered back, with a little help from the wind. Jeremy Pena led off the bottom half of the inning with a homerun to right center, cutting into the deficit, 2-1. Schwanz would follow that up three batters later with a solo home run, tying the game at 2.
Manhattan was able to regain the lead in the top of the second inning. Valls led off with a single and moved up to second on the sacrifice bunt. Pfenninger singled, knocking in Valls to give the Jaspers a 3-2 lead. A single by fourth-year shortstop Jose Carerra put runners on the corners and a stolen base put Arel on the ropes, with two in scoring position with only one out. Arel was able to escape, notching a strikeout and getting a groundout to second to end the inning.
The Black Bears answered back in the back in the second. Vicens beat out a slow roller to third for a single. He would steal second as Mahattan’s starter, fourth-year right hander Joey Rocchietti tried to pick him off and Pfenninger threw the ball into left field, allowing Vicens to move up to third. A single by Kerbs on a flair just out of the reach of Cerda plated Vicens, knotting the game at 3-3.
Maine would take the lead for the first time of the game in the third. Bec launched a one out double to right center. Schwanz laced a single right back up the middle, scoring Bec and giving the Black Bears a 4-3 lead. Vicens would rip a single to left with two outs, plating Schwanz and running the score to 5-3.
The train kept rolling for the Black Bears in the fourth. Rocchietti issued back-to-back walks, then gave up a triple to Pena, scoring both and extending the Black Bear lead to 7-3. After a pitching change, Ridley singled on a pop up that Carrera lost in the sun and landed in the spot he was initially positioned in, putting runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly then made the score 8-3.
Manhattan would cut into the deficit in the fifth. Bisset would lead off with a single and Patnick would draw a walk. After a fly out by Pena, a double by fourth-year designated hitter Evan Brown plated Bisset and made the score 8-4. Patnick and Brown would both come in on a triple by Forlow and the Jaspers would make the score 8-6.
The power surge continued for the Black Bears in the bottom of the fifth. Kerbs went to the opposite field for a home run with one out, running the score to 9-6. Pasic laced a triple down the right field and came home on a flair single to right by Pena to make the score 10-6.
Despite a few shaky innings, Arel would pick up his first win of the season. He gave up six earned runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out five. Rocchietti would be the losing pitcher for the Jaspers, giving up eight earned on ten hits, while walking two and striking out two.
Pena busted out during the doubleheader, ripping six hits in nine at bats over the two games.
“I just kept doing what I was doing. I was hitting the ball hard so it was only a matter of time,” Pena said.
The Black Bears will be back in action this week, with a game on Tuesday against Thomas College and then on Wednesday against the University of Maine at Farmington.