With spring around the corner, the start of the baseball season is here for the University of Maine Black Bears. It has been a rather underwhelming start to the season for the Black Bears after being swept on the road in a four game set from Friday, Feb. 15 to Sunday, Feb. 17 at Florida State University against a talented Seminoles team. The Black Bears played four games in the span of three days, including a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Maine was swept 11-0 in their Friday contest against the Seminoles, with Florida State taking an early 3-0 lead after a strong bottom of the first by their offense. The Black Bears were unable to stop the Seminoles, as they scored their 11 runs on 12 hits. Third-year starting pitcher Cody Lawyerson kept his cool through his three frames of work, including a scoreless inning in the second. After a two-run third inning by the Seminoles, head coach Nick Derba relieved Lawyerson with first-year pitcher Jacob Small. Small fared no better against the Seminoles strong batting rotation, giving up another six runs in the shut out.
The Black Bears lost the doubleheader series on Saturday by scores of 16-3 and 5-4, respectively. After playing such a close game in the latter portion of the doubleheader, the Black Bears were crushed 9-1 by the Seminoles to round out their weekend. With the given weather and climate conditions of the northeast, Maine’s disadvantage on the diamond against southern teams was quite apparent through their first series, as the Seminoles have been able to practice outside for the majority of the school year.
The Black Bears also played two games on the road against the University of Maryland, which unfortunately also ended with consecutive losses with scores of 4-0 and 5-3. The Black Bears will be on the road for a 16 game stretch until their first home contest in April. But Maine has a promising group of talented athletes on their squad that will be able to grind out the road stretch and hopefully get back for their first home games with a high number in the win column.
Redshirt fourth-year infielder Caleb Kerbs is off to a strong start in the 2019 campaign, batting .316 with two extra base hits to go along with a stolen base. Third-year pitcher Trevor DeLaite, has come on strong as well, not having allowed a single run in his three appearances on the mound so far. First-year starting pitcher Nicolas Sinacola came along strong for the Black Bears in his college debut start pitching five innings allowing zero runs. Third-year outfielder Colin Ridley batted .273 for the Black Bears over the course of the four games, pairing well with Kerbs to carry the Black Bears’ offensive efforts.
Next week they will travel to Virginia to take on Liberty University, and until then, the team will look to make the most out of this long road trip and hopefully come out on top at the end. With 12 first-year students composing a large portion of the active 32 man roster, and some of these players are already making an immediate impact, the future looks bright for the Black Bears.