ORONO — It was back to practice Monday for the University of Maine baseball team, which is coming off a disappointing split of their America East weekend series against Vermont.
Coach Steve Trimper’s Black Bears averaged 9.5 hits in the four games, but didn’t come up with enough hits in key situations to eke out at least one more win against the Catamounts.
UMaine went 13-for-48 (.271) with runners in scoring position in the series, including 7-for-33 (.212) in the last three games.
“I’m not going to make any excuses, we just haven’t hit the ball like we know how,” said senior co-captain Kevin McAvoy of Brewer. “We’ve just got to put some stuff together and get runs late in the game and we’ll end up winning.”
Part of the Bears’ reduced run production can be attributed to some tough pitching by the Catamounts. Vermont got tremendous mileage out of a trio of senior pitchers who hung tough even in the face of frequent difficulties.
Trimper theorizes previous success producing runs may have had UMaine hitters pressing after some struggles against Vermont.
“I think we just expected it to happen and got a little too tense,” Trimper said. “You can’t be tense when you hit, you’ve got to be intense.”
Even though the wind was blowing from right field toward left field on Sunday, a potential boon to righthanded power hitters, Trimper doesn’t believe the Bears altered their hitting approaches trying to hit home runs.
“The one thing about this team is they’re pretty resilient about staying with their plan,” Trimper said. “They’re not a group that deviates from what’s been working.”
Black Bears in second place
UMaine will go into this week’s America East series at Albany occupying second place in the conference standings.
The Bears (26-15, 9-3 AE) are percentage points behind first-place Binghamton (20-15, 8-2 AE) and have a solid advantage over Stony Brook (20-18, 9-7 AE) and Albany (17-23, 9-7 AE), which are tied for third.
Four teams qualify for the America East Championship, a double-elimination tournament that will be played May 21-23 at the home of the highest-seeded team that can procure a field with lights.
With series against Albany, Binghamton and Stony Brook to close out the league schedule, UMaine is in charge of its own destiny in its quest to host the tourney.
“If we play good ball, we’re going to be right in the position we want to be,” Trimper said. “We want to make our conference tournament, host our conference tournament and win our conference.”
FGCU to pare down AD finalists
The committee charged with selecting the next director of athletics at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers is expected to meet today at 3 p.m. after postponing a meeting scheduled for last Friday.
The committee plans to review the outcome of last week’s on-campus interviews of the six finalists for the position and make a recommendation to FGCU president Wilson Bradshaw.
UMaine athletic director Blake James is among six finalists for the position. He went through on-campus meetings and interviews April 20-21.