WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Joe Mercurio knocked in six runs with two doubles and two home runs Sunday, sparkking the University of Maine baseball team to a sweep of its America East doubleheader against Hartford.
The Black Bears (27-19, 11-6 AE) won the opener 11-3 and took the nightcap 12-4, rebounding from Saturday’s 7-6 setback to the Hawks (9-31, 3-14 AE).
In Sunday’s first game, Joe Mercurio drove in five runs with two doubles and a two-run home run.
The Bears collected 11 hits and received solid pitching from A.J. Bazdanes and Barry Keiffer.
“We showed some intensity early and played with a lead,” said UMaine assistant coach Mike Cole. “The past couple weeks, we’ve kind of been playing catch-up baseball. I thought our hitters were loose and we did a great job of getting on top early.”
Mercurio helped get UMaine off to a strong start, pulling a double down the left-field line to spark a three-run first inning that also included Joey Martin’s RBI single.
The Bears then added three runs in the second inning against Hawks starter Mike Thatcher (3-4). Mercurio launched a two-run home run after Michael Fransoso posted an RBI single as UMaine built a 6-0 lead that would prove more than adequate support for the pitchers.
“Joey’s having a great year. He’s playing with confidence and today he continued to impress us at the plate,” Cole said.
Sophomore righthander Bazdanes (5-4) allowed only four hits and two earned runs in his five-plus innings of work. However, he did walk five in addition to striking out four.
Keiffer pitched the last two innings, giving up two hits, to help UMaine close it out.
Mercurio also added a run-scoring double in the fourth inning for the Bears, who received a triple and a clinching three-run home run from sophomore Justin Leisenheimer.
“Justin came off the bench today and got two big hits for us,” Cole said. “From a coaching standpoint, that’s what you like to see, a guy that hasn’t been in a lot of action recently and to step in and get that three-run homer that he hit in the fifth inning was a big hit for us.”
Martin finished with two singles.