June 22, 2018
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UMaine splits Saturday doubleheader

By Pete Warner

ORONO, Maine –Stony Brook University pounded out 32 hits against the University of Maine on Saturday afternoon.

Somehow, the Black Bears still managed to salvage a split of their America East baseball doubleheader.

Taylor Lewis’s RBI double capped a four-run, fifth-inning rally that carried UMaine to a 10-9 victory in the second game at sun-drenched Mahaney Diamond.

Coach Steve Trimper’s Bears (24-17, 8-4 AE) regained their composure after the Seawolves (18-20, 7-5 AE) posted a 7-3 win in Saturday’s opener and spotted Stony Brook a six-run lead in Game 2.

“No matter how many runs we’re down by, we just keep on battling,” Lewis said. “We were basically relentless. We just stayed with what we do best and got some hits on them.”

The two teams play a doubleheader Sunday with the first game, a seven-inning contest, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. The second game is nine innings.

In the second game, UMaine responded after Stony Brook built a 6-0 advantage after 1 1/2 innings. The hosts scored once in the second inning, then tied it with five in the third.

The Seawolves scored three unanswered runs to regain the lead, but the Bears tallied four in the fifth to take their first lead of the day.

Ian Leisenheimer drew a leadoff walk in the pivotal fifth and Kyle Stilphen of Pittston worked relief loser Michael Barbot (1-3) for a one-out walk. Tony Patane followed by drilling a high, two-run double to the base of the fence in left-center.

Michael Fransoso chased Barbot with a game-tying hustle double to center field. Chris Maier came in and induced a fielder’s choice grounder by Joe Mercurio, but Lewis punched an opposite-field double to left-center to provide the go-ahead run.

UMaine’s bullpen would make it stand up.

Junior righthander Matt Jebb (2-3), who struggled in his most recent two starts, was effective coming out of the bullpen. He replaced starter Steve Perakslis, working 3 2/3 innings of six-hit ball and allowing only one earned run.

“Our bullpen pitched great,” Trimper said. “I’m happy for Matt Jebb. That’s the first time in a long time we pitched him out of the bullpen. It’s not an easy transition, but he did a good job with it.”

Senior Justin Latta came on to earn his third save with two innings of two-hit ball. He worked his way out of a ninth-inning jam by inducing a game-ending, 1-6-3 double play.

Stilphen knocked in three runs for UMaine with an RBI single in the second and a momentum-boosting, two-run home run in the third. The homer made it 6-6.

“I got a good pitch to hit and hit it well, put a good swing on it,” Stilphen said. “We know we can score runs. We’ve been behind a lot this year and we always have a good fight.”

Lewis stroked a double and two singles and Tyler Patzalek singled three times for the Bears.

Pat Cantwell collected a double and four singles to spearhead Stony Brook’s 18-hit onslaught. Robert Dyer had a double and two singles, while Chad Marshall doubled twice and knocked in four runs.

In Game 1, Stony Brook sophomore righthander Nick Tropeano pitched a three-hitter to set the tone for the Seawolves’ victory.

Tropeano (5-3) struck out six and walked three, surrendering three two-out runs in the third inning. He kept the Bears off-balance with a fastball, slider and changeup.

“We were definitely thinking that we needed to jump ahead, get them back on their heels,” Tropeano said. “If we win the first game, we’ve got the momentum.”

The Seawolves jumped on UMaine starter Jeff Gibbs (5-3), who struggled out of the gate and never really found his usual rhythm. Stony Brook scored three runs in the first, two in the third and added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

Robert Dyer hit a double and two singles to pace the Seahawks’ 14-hit attack. Tanner Nivins knocked in three runs with a two-run single in the first and an RBI double in the third.

Stephen Marino and Maxx Tissenbaum each stroked a pair of run-scoring singles for the winners, who registered six doubles.

Joe Mercurio cranked a three-run homer to lead UMaine, whose only other hits were singles from Joey Martin of Portland and Patane.

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