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Baseball continues to roll, sweeps UAlbany in 3-game set

The University of Maine baseball team extended their undefeated start in conference play last weekend, as they swept the University at Albany in a three-game series at home. 

UMaine was able to find success on both sides of the ball as they outscored the Great Danes 36-8 during the series. 

The fun started for the Black Bears on April 7, where they took the opening game of the series by a merciless score of 20-4. The Black Bears’ lineup accumulated 20 hits, including eight extra-base hits. UMaine utility player Jake Rainess scored four times to bolster his runs-per-game rate to 1.69, good for No. 2 overall in college baseball.

The outcome of this game was never in doubt, as UMaine took a 12-0 lead into the fourth inning.


Photo by Liv Schanck

UMaine third-year Quinn McDaniel hit a two-run blast to left in the fifth inning, his eighth of the year, to bring the Black Bears’ lead to 17-0. 

UAlbany managed to put together some offense late, but it was not enough to change the final outcome. Second-year pitcher Colin Fitzgerald was credited with the win, as he delivered 5.1 innings of two-run baseball. He struck out six while allowing seven hits and two walks. 

Maine kept the pressure on the Great Danes during the Saturday game, as the offense once again exploded for 12 runs. Jeremiah Jenkins set the tone for the game as he hit his 10th home run of the year in the first inning to put the Black Bears ahead 2-0. 

Each team scored some small-ball runs, and then UMaine fourth-year Ryan Turenne hit a solo shot to bring the score to 5-1 Black Bears. This was Turenne’s first home run of the season. 

Great Danes starter Matthew Mariano was relieved from the game in the fifth inning after allowing five runs and nine hits. The Black Bears continued to roll in the seventh inning, however, scoring three runs in the inning to stretch their lead.

UMaine knocked home four more in the eighth frame, courtesy of a bases-clearing double for third-year Jake Marquez and an RBI single for third-year Colin Plante. 

Photo by Liv Schanck

Second-year southpaw Caleb Leys earned the win after tossing six innings. Leys allowed one run, two hits and three walks. He struck out seven batters. The final score was 12-1.

Maine completed the sweep on Sunday with a little more suspense. Jenkins got the game teed off in a familiar fashion, as he hit a first-inning home run for the second consecutive day. 

The Great Danes got a taste of the lead for the first time of the weekend when Carson Dunkel hit a two-run home run to right field in the third inning. 

Maine tied the game in the fifth inning when Marquez hit a sacrifice fly to score Rainess. Rainess was tallied as an unearned run as he reached on an error by the shortstop.

UAlbany retook the lead an inning later when Justin Hurd hit an RBI double to make it 3-2 Great Danes. Following the play, UMaine head coach Nick Derba decided to pull starting pitcher Noah Lewis.  

Lewis threw 6.1 solid innings, surrendering three runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out three batters.

Andrew Chevarie was called on in relief, but could not record an out, giving up two walks in the process. Colton Carson was brought in for damage control and pitched brilliantly, allowing no runs or hits while striking out two and surrendering a walk.

UAlbany called in relief pitcher Owen Birkman to begin the eighth. Starter Dylan Banner went seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned run) on nine hits and two walks, while striking out six. 

Things looked dire for the Black Bears as they entered the bottom of the ninth trailing by one run. Marquez and Plante began to spark a rally with two straight singles to start the frame. On the next play, a throwing error allowed Marquez to score and tie the game. 

Photo by Liv Schanck

UAlbany put the inning to bed after forcing a flyout and a strikeout, but UMaine had gotten the job done and forced extra innings. 

Fifth-year reliever Justin Baeyens pitched a 1-2-3 top of the tenth, handing the game back to the offense. Rainess led off the bottom of the frame with a double, which McDaniel immediately followed up with another double to win the game 4-3 and send UMaine fans home happy. 

Baeyens secured the win for UMaine as he threw two scoreless innings, allowing no hits and one walk while earning one strikeout. 

The sweep put Maine at 9-0 in conference play, their best conference start since 1991. 

Jenkins was credited with the America East Player of the Week honors for his performance. Jenkins had a 1.077 OPS for the weekend, hitting two home runs and batting in nine runs. 

Four out of eight of this year’s Player of the Week accolades have been awarded to a player from UMaine.

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