The University of Maine baseball team (8-19) continued their conference play with a doubleheader at home against the University at Albany Great Danes (9-11) on Saturday, March 31. In game one, the Black Bears came out strong and defeated the Great Danes 10-2. The Black Bears hold the series advantage over the Great Danes, 40-35. The two teams met five times last season, with the Black Bears finishing 2-3. The 2018 season also marks Maine’s 135th season of baseball, with the sport starting at UMaine during the 1881 season.
Starting on the mound for the Black Bears was redshirt fourth-year Zach Winn, who appeared in 16 games last season, making two starts with 14 relief appearances. Starting on the mound for the Great Danes was third-year Brendan Smith, who went 1-5 with a 4.37 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 25 walks in over 18 appearances in 2017.
In the first inning, the Great Danes took the lead off of a Maine error at first base. The Black Bears then responded off of a base-clearing double by fourth-year Jonathan Bennett to run the score to 3-1. Bennett then scored off of a single by redshirt junior Caleb Kerbs to make it 4-1. Then, second-year Kevin Doody made it 5-1 after scoring off of a single by second-year Cody Pasic.
In the top of the fourth, first-year Ryan Hernandez hit a home run to make the score 5-2. In the bottom of the fourth, second-year Hernen Sardinas hit a single, which ended up scoring third-years Jeremy Pena and Danny Casals to increase the lead to five.
In the bottom of the fifth, Albany brought in first-year Ben Brown to replace Smith on the mound. Maine also switched their pitcher and brought in fourth-year Connor Johnson.
In the bottom of the sixth, Pasic scored to make it 8-2. Pena then scored on a hit by fourth-year Brandon Vicens.
In the top of the seventh, redshirt first-year Matt Geoffrion replaced Johnson on the mound. Albany then made their final pitching change in the eighth inning, putting redshirt second-year Nick Bird into replace Brown. The game would finish with the Black Bears on top 10-2 after Doody plated Vicens with a single.
“I thought it was a really good game overall. We played like the team we knew we had all along and now it’s about building on that and getting better everyday,” Winn said.
Baseball takes game two of series against Albany
The University of Maine baseball team returned to the mound for the second game of their doubleheader against the University at Albany Great Danes (9-10) on Saturday, March 31. The Black Bears took game two with a score of 4-1.
Starting on the mound for the Black Bears in the second game was fourth-year John Arel, who appeared in 21 games last season, starting 21 of them. Starting on the mound for the Great Danes was third-year Dominic Savino, who finished last season with an ERA of 2.48 with 32 strikeouts and 24 walks with over 27 appearances.
In the top of the first, Vicens put Maine on the board first when he scored two on a single. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Vicens scored again off of a Doody single, making it 3-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, Bennett scored on a wild pitch to increase the lead to four. In the bottom of the 6th, the Great Danes got on the board when Hernandez hit his second homer of the game, 4-1.
With one inning remaining, the Black Bears made a couple pitching changes. Second-year right hander Cody Laweryson came in for Arel, and then they switched to Johnson to get the needed final out. With runners on second and third, Johnson came in clutch, getting the needed out. That would do it for game two, as the Black Bears went onto win it 4-1.
“It’s really good to see everything coming together and for everyone to start moving in the right direction. Anytime you can win both games of a double header, especially at home, and have a chance to sweep the series, it’s all a huge positive,” Johnson said.
Maine finishes off sweep
The University of Maine baseball team finished their three-game series against the University at Albany on Sunday, April 1 . The Black Bears swept the series, winning the last game 17-1.
Starting on the mound for the Black Bears was third-year Nick Silva, who started 11 games last season and was second on the team with 62 strikeouts. The starting pitcher for the Great Danes was redshirt first-year John Clayton, who made four appearances last season.
The Black Bears started the scoring in the bottom of the first when Pena scored off of a double by Casals. Then, Sardinas hit a double which scored Casals and Bec to make it 3-0. The scoring continued when Sardinas got a run of his own to increase the lead to four.
In the top of the second, the Great Danes got on the board off of a walk. In the bottom of the third, Bec hit a homer to make it 5-1. In the top of the sixth, Sardinas hit a single that scored Pena to make it 6-1. Then, third-year Collin Ridley hit a single that scored Casals to increase the lead to six.
In the top of the seventh, Casals hit a double to score Pena. The Black Bears then made a pitching change, bringing in third-year Eddie Emerson to replace Silva. The scoring would continue as Bec hit his second homer of the game to make the final score of the afternoon 17-1.
With an inning remaining, Maine made their last pitching change of the day, bringing Laweryson in to replace Emerson.
“It was very nice to play at home and get a conference sweep. We did an amazing job the whole weekend pitching, hitting and playing great defense,” Silva said, who also got the win.
The Black Bears return to Mahaney Diamond Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8 when they host a three-game series against Stony Brook University. The Great Danes return to the field Tuesday, April 3 when they travel to Marist College. The game is set to start at 3 p.m.
Edited on April 4 to redact line on Coach Derba not being available for comment.