April 25, 2018
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UMaine salvages one victory against Stony Brook

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — Tyler Patzalek knocked in three runs and Keith Bilodeau scattered nine hits Sunday afternoon, leading the University of Maine to a 7-3 victory over Stony Brook in the first game of an America East baseball doubleheader at Bonomo Memorial Field on the campus of Adelphi University.

Patzalek knocked in two runs with groundouts and added two singles, including an RBI hit in the sixth inning, in the win. Bilodeau (3-2) worked his way around a tight strike zone and Stony Brook bats to go the distance.

It was the only win of the weekend for the Black Bears (10-19, 1-3 AE). The Seawolves (19-8, 3-1 AE) took Sunday’s finale 7-0 after sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader by scores of 8-1 and 8-7 (in 12 innings).

“That’s two evenly-matched teams,” said UMaine coach Steve Trimper, “they just have a little more experience than us right now, across the board. I don’t think there’s any question we can play with them.”

In Sunday’s opener, the Black Bears hammered freshman Frankie Vanderka (2-2) for seven hits and five earned runs in only 1 1/3 innings.

Alex Calbick stroked an RBI single in the first, while Joey Martin of Portland lined a two-run single during a three-run second to put UMaine on top 5-0.

Bilodeau, a junior righthander, struck out five and walked four. He threw 126 pitches, 71 for strikes.

“Scoring runs early, that’s big,” Bilodeau said. “It makes it a lot easier to pitch, so that also helped a lot.”

Junior Justin Leisenheimer singled and homered, while Mike Fransoso singled twice and scored two runs as the Bears battled back after dropping the suspended game.

“I think bouncing back, getting that win, was good,” Patzalek said. “We played really hard as a team. That’s exactly what we needed to do.”

Vanderka, who had allowed only three earned runs and 13 hits in 26 2/3 innings, got rocked. Steve Marino and Chad Marshall singled twice each for SBU.

In Sunday’s second game, Brandon McNitt (3-1) picked up his second win in two days, this time as a starter. The freshman righthander blanked UMaine on five hits through seven innings and left with a 7-0 lead.

McNitt struck out five and did not walk a batter while throwing 86 pitches, 67 for strikes.

“He was spotting his pitches, pretty much making us get ourselves out,” Justin Leisenheimer said. “We were swinging the bat decent, but we couldn’t get anything going.”

Stony Brook jumped on freshman starter Shaun Coughlin (1-1) for two runs in the first, then broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning. Willy Carmona lashed a two-run double and Marino slammed a two-run homer to key the rally.

Justin Leisenheimer singled twice among six hits for UMaine.

Sunday began with the completion of Saturday’s second game, which was suspended due to darkness. Maxx Tissenbaum laid down a squeeze bunt with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Seawolves.

Pat Cantwell started the rally with an infield single, then A.J. Bazdanes (1-3) hit Chad Marshall with a pitch. Carmona reached on a check-swing single to load the bases.

On a 1-1 count, Tissenbaum got a bunt down as Cantwell raced across home plate.

McNitt pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

UMaine had threatened in the 11th when Colin Gay drew a leadoff walk and advanced on Eric White’s sacrifice bunt. However, Gay was picked off second base. Troy Black followed with a single to center field.

“We made a few mistakes in that first game that kind of set us back,” Patzalek said. “We had a good chance to win, we made a mistake. It happens.”

On Saturday, at Dowling College in Oakdale, N.Y., the Bears rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game. They retaliated after the Seawolves scored twice in the seventh and eighth to make it 7-4.

UMaine equalized in the ninth against reliever Carmona. Justin Leisenheimer ignited the rally with a hard single to left and Gay fisted a single to right. One out later, pinch hitter Ian Leisenheimer walked.

Pinch runner Robbie Trask of Saco scored on a wild pitch, then Fransoso pulled a clutch, two-run double past the bag at first to tie the contest. He was left stranded.

In Saturday’s first game, Nick Tropeano baffled the Bears on two hits with a heavy dose of offspeed pitches. The junior righthander (6-1) kept UMaine guessing with an assortment of “slurves” and changeups and a handful of fastballs.

Tropeano struck out five and walked one, inducing 13 ground-ball outs.

“The problem with him sometimes, he throws every pitch for a strike,” Justin Leisenheimer said. “He throws a slider, a changeup, in any count, so you can be 2-0 and you’re not going to get the fastball.”

Stony Brook scratched out only six hits against three UMaine pitchers, but worked six walks and ran the bases aggressively.  Four of the players who scored reached via walks and one was hit by a pitch.

Bears starter Jeff Gibbs lasted 4 1/3 innings. He gave up only four hits, but walked three and hit a batter.

“You’ve got to win these games by not giving anything away,” Trimper said.

Up 1-0, the Seawolves scored three runs in the fourth. Marino’s two-run, hit-and-run triple to left-center was the key hit.

Stony Brook tacked on three more in the fifth, which included two walks and a fielding error during a rundown between third and home plate.

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