The University of Maine’s baseball team opened up its 2020 season with a three-game road series in Rock Hill, South Carolina where they took on Winthrop University. The opener proved dismal for the Black Bears impending spring season as they logged three consecutive losses to the Winthrop Eagles.
Second-year starting Pitcher Nicholas Sinacola got the nod to be the Black Bears opening day starter on the mound. He showed strong resolve, pitching five innings, striking out six batters and allowing three runs, but only two of which were earned. Unfortunately, the Black Bears offense was not able to provide the run support needed to get the win in the opening matchup. The lone run for Maine in the opener was from a solo home run from third-year designated hitter Alex McKenney, as he took a pitch yard from Winthrop’s fourth-year pitcher Thad Harris, sending the ball cruising out to deep center, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Third-year pitcher Matt Geoffrion was excellent in relief, pitching three scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out three batters. The Black Bears’ efforts ended up falling short as they dropped the game with a final score of 3-1.
Game two was a disappointing one for the Black Bears as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth. Third-year pitcher Matthew Pushard delivered another great start for the Black Bears, going five innings while allowing two runs, with only one earned. He put the Black Bears offense in a good position to make some noise and the bats came to life a bit in these innings. With the Black Bears hanging on to a slim 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning, the bats came alive for Winthrop University as well, as they piled on seven runs to take a commanding 9-3 lead going into the top of the ninth. Despite being morally deflated, the Black Bears were able to get one more run in when Sardinas drove in second-year catcher Colby Emmertz with an RBI double, but to no avail, as the University of Maine fell by a final score of 9-4.
Game three was not exactly as competitive as the first two for the Black Bears, as they seemingly lost the wind in their sails. This game was pretty much dominated by Winthrop from the jump. Maine was already on their third pitcher for the game before the third inning was even over, and Winthrop owned a commanding 13-4 lead over Maine in the fourth inning. A multitude of hits, ranging from singles to triples, drove Winthrop around the bases, in addition to several stolen bases due to errors made by the Black Bears’ infield.
That lead would end up holding up through the end of the game as Winthrop was able to complete a three-game sweep of Maine. The Black Bears will look to gain some momentum this weekend at the Campbell Invitational in Buies Creek, North Carolina when they face Villanova University, Purdue University and Campbell University in what is essentially a round-robin type of tournament. The boys have a bit of a long road ahead of them as they will be on a road trip playing all of their games as the visiting team before finally hosting a home series in Orono against the University of Massachusetts Lowell on the weekend of March 28.