The Black Bears headed down to Kingston, Rhode Island to face the Rhode Island Rams this past Wednesday, April 18 for a doubleheader. The first game began at 2:30 p.m., and fourth-year pitcher Molly Flowers, who had not given up a run in each of her last four appearances, took the mound for Maine.
Coming off of a three-game win streak, the Black Bears looked to capitalize on their momentum. In the first inning, they did just that, with third-year third baseman Alyssa Derrick bringing in a run with a single, followed by an RBI double from fourth-year first baseman Kristen Niland.
The Rams came back and scored one run in the second, and then exploded for four runs in the third inning. First-year utility infielder/outfielder Hannah DeSousa singled home a run on a liner to right, while third-year infielder Rebecca Simms collected two RBIs on a double. Second-year outfielder Caileigh Holland hit an RBI single and that ended the scoring for the Rams.
The Black Bears were able to muster up one run in the sixth inning. Niland collected her second RBI of the game on a fielder’s choice single that scored third-year infielder Laurine German. The Black Bears were able to get on base throughout the game but could never put together the runs to come back from the three-run deficit. The final score was 5-3 with Rhode Island coming out on top in the first game of the doubleheader.
Game 2 had a first pitch time of 4:50 p.m., and Maine got the scoring going in the first inning once again. Third-year infielder Maddie Decker singled home fourth-year centerfielder Rachel Carson, and Maine went into the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead.
First-year pitcher Lilly Volk took the mound with an early lead and did not allow the Rams to answer in either of the first two innings, holding them to only one hit. However, Rhode Island was able to put up three runs in the bottom of the third. Fourth-year outfielder Paige Julich got an RBI off of a bunt. Second-year infielder Erica Robles singled home another run. Second-year infielder Erika Yeager punctuated the inning by driving home a run on the very underrated sac fly.
The Black Bears had an immediate response to the quick runs put up by the Rams. Derrick launched a solo home run to center field to cut the lead to one run, 3-2. This was her fourth home run of the season, which is the highest on the team.
The fifth inning came and went with no runs from either side. Volk continued to control the Rams after their three-run third inning, and in the bottom of the sixth it was still 3-2 Rams. The Black Bears seemed to be putting a run together. The tying run was on base, but they were unable to drive home the run and went into the bottom of the sixth still down a run.
The same situation arose in the bottom of the seventh, where the Black Bears were able to get the tying run to third base but could not drive it home. The final score was 3-2, and the Black Bears went home winless in the doubleheader. They look forward to another doubleheader on Saturday at home against Sacred Heart.
Maine sweeps Pioneers
On another cool Saturday in Orono, April 21, the Black Bears faced the Sacred Heart Pioneers at Kessock Field. They were slated for a doubleheader, the Black Bears’ second in a row and the first pitch was thrown at 11 a.m. with fourth-year pitcher Annie Kennedy taking the mound to start the game.
Sacred Heart was able to get the leadoff hitter on second, but two strikeouts from Kennedy ended the top of the first without any damage. Decker and German were both walked in the bottom of the first, but with one out and fourth-year outfielder Erika Leonard at bat, the Pioneers were able to get a 6-3 putout and end the inning unscathed.
Kennedy came out throwing gas in the second. It was three up, three down for the Pioneers and the score remained 0-0 heading into the bottom of the second. The Black Bears were again able to get two runners on base but could not gather the momentum to drive the runners home.
Kennedy continued to mow down the Pioneers, but the Black Bears were also unable to put any offense together. The Pioneers’ first hit didn’t come until third-year infielder Stephanie Mangiameli hit a bloop single in the top of the fourth. They were able to collect another hit, but Kennedy was able to start a 1-6-3 double play and then struck out the next batter to make sure the score remained 0-0.
This game was dominated by pitchers, as the fifth and sixth inning featured almost no action on the basepaths. However, in the bottom of the seventh, Maine was able to put second-year outfielder Emily Gilmore on third base. She was thrown out coming home and then a fly out ended the inning, but Derrick came through with an emphatic walk-off two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth, ending the game with a score of 2-0.
Game 2 of the doubleheader began at 1:45 p.m., and first-year pitcher Kyleigh O’Donnell took the mound for the Black Bears. She also came out throwing with confidence and put together a 1-2-3 inning to start the game. Maine was also unable to get going in the first, and it was 0-0 after one.
Game 2 was very similar to Game 1; the pitchers were dominant. Maine was able to collect one hit from innings two through six, and Sacred Heart was unable to get the bats going as well, also collecting one hit over the same time frame. In the bottom of the seventh, Gilmore made an effort to beat out a throw at home on a fly ball to left, but it was caught, and the game went to extras yet again.
Sacred Heart got their second hit in the top of the eighth, but the runner was stranded. Maine’s late-game execution came through again, when first-year utility player Shanna Scribner hustled all the way from first to home on a throwing error to score the winning run. Maine walked off again, and the final score was 1-0, completing the sweep against Sacred Heart.
The Black Bears’ next game is Wednesday, April 25 in Lowell, Massachusetts, where they will take on the UMass-Lowell River Hawks. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. Sacred Heart will play again on Tuesday when they take on Fairfield at 3:30 p.m.