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UMaine Softball and Baseball: Season Previews and Players To Watch

The University of Maine Black Bears Softball and Baseball teams have both kicked off their respective 2024 seasons. In the America East Preseason rankings voted on by the coaches, Maine Softball finished fifth out of six teams, while Maine Baseball was ranked second out of seven teams. 

Both teams entered the season following success in the 2023 America East Championships. Softball entered the tournament as the lowest seed yet finished third in the playoffs. Baseball went undefeated in the America East playoffs to win their first  championship in 12 seasons. They advanced to the NCAA Division I tournament before losing to the University of Miami and the University of Louisiana.

Black Bear Softball traveled to Arizona, Georgia and Delaware to start the season by playing challenging, non-conference opponents. They have accumulated a 1-10 record to start the year, facing off against teams such as the University of Michigan, Louisville University and Florida Atlantic University. Their lone win came against the University of Delaware by a score of 5-4.

During the 5-4 victory, the Black Bears scored three first-inning runs and held on to win even after Delaware had tied the score at four. They had a balanced offensive effort, led by first-year left-fielder Kennedy Burns, who had two hits and a run. Second-year shortstop Krista Francia scored two runs, including the game-winning tally in the 7th inning. Maine used three pitchers in the game, with first-year player Kaly Thomas picking up her first collegiate victory.

Fifth-year pitcher Caitlyn Fallon leads the Black Bears. In 2023, Fallon threw a career-high 71 strikeouts during her 121.0 innings pitched. A key player to watch is third-year utility player Katie Jo Moery. Last season, Moery’s batting average was .225%, but through 11 games so far in 2024, she is second on the team batting .296%.

Black Bear Baseball has also traveled south for their games to start the season, playing in Florida and South Carolina. They currently own a 1-8 record after being swept in two series of three games against the University of Pittsburgh and Winthrop University. Their first victory of the season came in dominant fashion, defeating Fordham University by a score of 16-2. 

Fourth-year third baseman Jake Marquez and third-year first baseman Jeremiah Jenkins launched solo home runs in the first inning to give Maine the early lead. Fordham tied the game at two in the second inning before the Black Bears scored 14 unanswered runs to close the game. Marquez had an outstanding game with two hits, two walks, two runs, and three runs batted in. First-year pitcher Jason Kreiger retired 18 of his 22 batters faced to earn his first collegiate win.

Jeremiah Jenkins enters 2024 as one of the most versatile players in the NCAA after having a dominant 2023 season. He batted .365% and hit a team-high 21 home runs while batting in 76 runs. This led him to win the award for America East Player of the Year and be named an NCAA Collegiate Baseball Third Team All-American player.

Maine Softball hosts their home opener against the University of Albany on March 30, while Baseball faces off against Thomas College on March 20 for their first home game.

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