Black Bears pound Penn

Posted March 08, 2010, at 10:12 p.m.

WINTER PARK, Fla. — A.J. Bazdanes allowed one run in six innings and Joe Mercurio knocked in four runs Monday to lead the University of Maine to a 17-8 baseball victory over the University of Pennsylvania in the Rollins College tournament at Alfond Stadium.

Coach Steve Trimper’s Black Bears (5-6) collected 14 hits, including a home run and three singles by Mercurio, while winning their third straight game.

UMaine is back in action today with a 2:30 p.m. contest against host Rollins.

Mercurio, a senior catcher, singled in the first inning, had an RBI groundout in the third, hit a run-scoring single in the fifth and belted a two-run homer in the sixth.

“He got his stance widened out, which has allowed him to catch up with some fastballs,” Trimper said. “Confidence is everything and he’s got confidence going right now. He’s been a great surprise for us.”

Bazdanes, a sophomore righthander, scattered six hits, striking out eight and walking one, in his best outing of the young season.

“He pitched great,” Trimper said. “We haven’t been pitching to our expectations. We’re not really getting hit around, we’ve just had high pitch counts, too many walks. I think our guys are trying to be perfect and we give too much credit to hitters sometimes.”

UMaine also received key offensive contributions from sophomore center fielder Taylor Lewis, sophomore first baseman Justin Leisenheimer and senior shortstop Tony Patane.

Lewis posted an RBI triple in the second inning, a run-scoring infield single in the third and a single in the fourth. He scored three times and also stole three bases.

Lewis has reached base 12 consecutive times and is 10-for-10 during that span.

“Taylor’s really been playing well,” Trimper said. “He’s got a little bit of confidence and he’s swinging it well.”

Leisenheimer hit a run-scoring single in the second inning and an RBI single in the third, while Patane stroked a three-run home run in the sixth.

The Bears scored in the first three innings against loser Kirk Hayes, scoring six times in the third to take a 9-0 lead. UMaine eventually built the advantage to 17-1 before the Quakers (1-2) reached the Bears’ bullpen for six runs in the seventh and one in the ninth.

Spencer Branigan singled three times with an RBI to lead Penn, while Dan Williams contributed two singles and two RBIs.

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