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Umaine Baseball Falls to Merrimack

UMaine Baseball Drops Road Game to Merrimack

On Wednesday April 17, the University of Maine Black Bears Baseball team traveled to North Andover, Massachusetts to take on the Merrimack College Warriors. The Black Bears, who recently split a series with UMass Lowell, looked to take advantage of a skidding Merrimack team who entered the game on a four-game losing streak. However, they lost the game by a score of 19-8 in seven innings.

Fourth-year pitcher Marshall Smaracko started the game on the mound for the Black Bears. He hit his first faced batter of the day, and the next at bat was a two-run homerun for first-year infielder Dawson Bryce. 

After giving up a single, Smaracko hit two more batters to load the bases. He forced a ground ball double play to earn two huge outs, but then hit his fourth batter of the inning. With runners on first and third, he threw a wild pitch, which scored another run. After the first inning, the Warriors led 4-0.

Unfortunately, for the Black Bears, the deficit only grew larger, even after a pitching change. Fourth-year pitcher Tyler Nielson took over for Smaracko in the second inning, and then the first seven consecutive Merrimack batters would reach base to start the inning.

Second-year catcher Frankie Ferrentino hit a grand slam followed by fellow second-year catcher Matthew Chatelle hitting a three-run homerun to completely break open the game. After two innings, the Black Bears trailed 11-0.

The bats clicked during the top of the third inning for Maine. With the bases loaded and just one out, third-year first-baseman Jeremiah Jenkins hit an RBI single. This scored first-year infielder Jonathan Gonzalez, and got the Black Bears on the board. Fourth-year infielder Jake Marquez hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score first-year utility player Tyler Annis. 

After third-year outfielder Zach Martin walked, first-year infielder Jack Friend would come to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Friend would end up hitting his first collegiate home run, a grand slam over the left field fence to make the game 11-6.

In the bottom of the third inning, Merrimack would respond with a few runs of their own. Second-year Blaine Cockburn would pitch the third for Maine. He allowed a three-run homerun to Warrior graduate student infielder Alex Haba. 

Maine pulled back another run in the fourth inning after a Jenkins sacrifice fly once more scored Annis. But again, Merrimack answered. Ferrentino hit his second home run of the game, a three run shot to give Merrimack a 10 run lead. Ferrentino finished the game with seven RBI’s. Cockburn allowed two more runs in the inning, giving up a walk with the bases loaded, as well as a sacrifice fly to increase the Merrimack lead to 19-7. 

Gonzalez hit an RBI single that scored fourth-year Black Bear outfielder Logan Burrill in the top of the fifth inning. The score remained 19-8 heading into the bottom of the fifth.

First-year pitcher Gabe Gifford relieved Cockburn on the mound in the bottom of the fifth inning. Like Smaracko, he would also hit his first batter of the day, second-year outfielder Christian Scanlon. Scanlon reached base in all five of his at bats, and scored four runs for the Warriors. Gifford would finish the inning without allowing a run, which was the first scoreless inning for Merrimack.

Despite a few walks in the top of the sixth inning, Jenkins grounded into a double play and Marquez was caught stealing. Third-year pitcher Ryan Scott recorded a one-two-three inning for the Black Bears in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Maine would fail to score in the top of the seventh inning, which triggered the 10 run mercy rule after seven innings. Merrimack would pick up the win by a final score of 19-8. 

After a bizarre game where Maine pitchers recorded seven hit batsmen in seven innings, the Black Bears look to bounce back when they host Rider University from April 19 through April 21. Next week, they play a rematch series against Merrimack, playing one home game on April 23, and one away game on April 24.

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