WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The bullpen was going to be a little short Monday for the University of Maine baseball team after being taxed in Sunday’s America East doubleheader against Hartford.
As it turned out, the Black Bears barely needed any bullpen help.
Freshman Pat Quinn pitched a four-hitter in a 14-1 opening-game victory, then Matt Jebb worked eight strong innings in a 14-3 rout in the nightcap as UMaine swept and took three of four in the series.
“Quinn’s had two or three outings in a row here where he’s really dealt and set the tone for the game,” said UMaine head coach Steve Trimper. “He gave our offense a chance not only to be in the game but just keep tacking on some runs.”
UMaine (20-13, 3-1 AE) rewarded the pitchers’ efforts. The Bears amassed 32 hits in the twinbill and the defense played errorless ball and turned two double plays.
“We would score a couple of runs and then [the pitchers] would go out and throw a zero, a 1-2-3 inning, and then we’d come back in and hit,” said redshirt freshman Justin Leisenheimer, who went 5-for-9 in the doubleheader with six RBIs.
“We got a lot of two-out RBIs and hits and we never just went out there and gave up three outs. We fought for every out,” he added.
In the opener, Quinn (4-0) stole the show, even as his teammates pinged out 15 hits and scored 14 runs on his behalf.
The polished righthander spread out five hits and allowed only a seventh-inning run in dominating the Hawks (6-18, 1-3 AE). Quinn struck out four, walked three and hit one batter.
He threw only 83 pitches (55 for strikes) in winning his third consecutive start. Quinn took advantage of a lively fastball and also showed off an effective cutter and an occasional curveball.
“I had real good control of my fastball today, which I had struggled with the past games, past weeks, but I felt good today,” Quinn said.
Quinn, a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder from Quaker Hill, Conn., enjoyed pitching so well in his first collegiate outing in his home state.
“It’s good to have family here,” he said. “We had that rain Friday and I was able to go home. That felt real good.”
Quinn’s performance motivated the Bears, who jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning against starter Zach Tarner (0-1) and then jumped on Hartford for three runs in the third, five in the fourth and four more in the fifth to end the suspense.
Senior Danny Menendez again spearheaded the offensive assault. He stroked a single in the third, a two-run double in the fourth and an RBI single in the fifth.
Leisenheimer also was productive, rapping a run-scoring single in the third and a two-run single in the fourth. Twin brother Ian Leisenheimer knocked in two runs with a double, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single, while Tony Patane added three singles.
Matt Walker had an RBI fielder’s choice for the Hawks.
In Game 2, Jebb (5-1) shook off a two-run first inning by Hartford and pitched eight strong.
The sophomore righty was efficient, throwing only 84 pitches. He scattered 10 hits, including eight singles, while fanning two and walking only one.
Jebb rebounded after allowing four hits, including a pop-fly single and a nubber infield single, to allow only six hits in his last seven innings.
“I said to him, ‘we’re going to knock their starter around, so get back your composure, let the team play behind you, let us do our job on offense and you just grind it out,’” Trimper said. “Then he settled right in.”
Justin Leisenheimer again paced the Bears with three hits, including an RBI double in the sixth and a run-scoring single in the ninth. Patane added an RBI double in the third.
Freshman Kyle Stilphen of Pittston was on base all six times he came up, knocking in three runs with a single and a fielder’s choice. Joey Martin of Portland had a run-producing single and an RBI double.
Ian Leisenheimer went 5-for-6 in the doubleheader with three RBIs and four runs scored. He doubled twice.
“We were [thinking] let’s go out and win two games,” Justin Leisenheimer said. “We had no doubt in our mind that we weren’t going to get two.”
The Bears took the lead for good with two runs in the second inning off Hawks starter Matt Govoni (1-2). Stilphen worked a one-out walk, then Patane heated things up by lining an RBI double — the first of three by the junior in the game — off the fence in right-center.
Martin followed with a sharp, run-scoring single to center field.
UMaine tacked on four runs in the third, the key blow being Stilphen’s two-run single to center.
BEAR TRACKS: Senior outfielder Kevin McAvoy of Brewer did not play Monday after experiencing tightness in his hamstrings during Sunday’s chilly doubleheader. McAvoy was pulled after going 0-for-1 in Sunday’s second game, thus ending his hitting streak at 19 games. McAvoy leads the Bears in batting (.386, home runs (5), doubles (11), on-base percentage (.484) and slugging percentage (.644).