Maine Sweeps Doubleheader from UMBC to Start Final Weekend

Junior Stephen Chrzanowski
Junior Stephen Chrzanowski

ORONO, Maine – Maine took game one by scoring the game's only run in the bottom of the seventh, and then exploded for 13 runs in the sixth in the night cap to sweep the doubleheader from the UMBC baseball team, Friday evening at Mahaney Diamond on the final weekend of the America East season.

The Black Bears (34-19, 21-8 AE) won the opener 1-0 on Troy Black's RBI-single then capped the day by downing the Retrievers (17-30, 8-22 AE) in the evening game, 18-9.

In the first game of the day, both starting pitchers threw a complete-game, but A.J. Bazdanes (6-5) earned the victory after holding UMBC to just two hits in seven innings.

Making his second start of the season, junior Stephen Chrzanowski (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora/Hagerstown CC) matched Bazdanes over the first six innings, but took the loss as Black drove in Shane Bussey with one down in the seventh.

After a routine first inning, the visitors threatened first with sophomore Anthony Gatto (Hauppauge, N.Y./Smithtown West) picking up a one-out single in the second.  He stole second but was stranded there as a fly to right ended the frame.

Maine also pressured in the inning as well with Brian Doran doubling to right-center, but Chrzanowski worked his way out of it to keep the game scoreless.

In the fifth, the Black Bears looked poised to take the lead as Black singled to left with two away, but sophomore left fielder Jake Barnes (Annandale, Va./Annandale) fired home in time for freshman catcher Manny Colon (Williamstown, N.J./Buena Regional) to tag Bussey who tried to score from second.

Another fine defensive play kept Maine off the board in the sixth as freshman Kevin Lachance(Clifton, Va./Centreville) snared a line drive to end a bases loaded threat.  Lachance poked a double down the right field line in the top of the seventh with one away, but was left there.

The hosts finally broke through in the bottom half as Bussey led off with a single through the right side, moved to second on a sac bunt, and then scored the game-winner on Black's single.

The Retrievers started the second game brightly with junior Rob McCabe (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) singling as the lead-off batter, stealing second, taking third on a wild pitch, and giving UMBC the lead on a ground out by Lachance.

The lead grew to two runs in the third with Barnes lacing a one-out double to left and then scoring as an errant throw by the shortstop Bussey, allowed Lachance to reach.  Maine drew back within one immediately as Sam Balzano drew a lead-off walk and came around to score on a single by Eric White.

After UMBC wasted two runners on base in the top of the fourth, Maine took the lead for good with three runs.  Both teams scored a single run in the fifth, and after the Retrievers crossed the plate in the sixth with junior D.J. Smith (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) scoring on a sac bunt by McCabe, the Black Bears went on to add 13 in the bottom  half.

Smith hit an RBI-double in the seventh and then the Retrievers scored four times in the eighth to cap the scoring.  Freshman Mark Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) scored on a wild pitch for the first run of the inning.  McCabe then scored on an RBI-grounder by junior Brandon Coluccio (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale CC) and Gatto followed with a single to left to bring around Lachance and Barnes.

UMBC and Maine finish the series and the 2013 regular season with a single game tomorrow at 1 p.m.

DAWG BITES

-          Maine has now defeated UMBC 21 games in a row and holds a 36-3 all-time lead.

-          Senior Jason Allinder (Snow Hill, Md./Snow Hill/Chesapeake CC) pitched an inning in game two, making his first appearance on the mound since his sophomore year in 2011.

-          Esposito also threw for the Retrievers.

-          UMBC's nine runs in game two are the team's highest run total against Maine since defeating the Black Bears 21-8 on Apr. 18 2008.

-          Chrzanowski did not strike out a batter in game one, ending the Retrievers' string of 111 straight games with at least one K.  The last time UMBC did not strike out an opponent was on Apr. 30, 2010 at Maine.