The 17-7 Bowdoin College Polar Bears are having an exceptional season that includes a first-ever sweep of a three-game series over Trinity College last weekend.
That boosted the Polar Bears’ New England Small College Athletic Conference record to 5-1.
And two pitchers from the Bangor area have played integral roles in their success.
Hampden’s Evan Farley has been a multi-purpose lefthander, while Bangor righthander Ian Edwards is the closer and has already set a school single-season record for saves with six.
Farley, a senior, has made nine appearances, including two starts, and has a 3.33 earned-run average and one save. He has thrown 24 1/3 innings and allowed 22 hits with six walks and 20 strikeouts. He has given up just three extra-base hits, all doubles, and opponents are hitting only .234 against him.
Edwards, a junior, is 0-1 with his six saves and has struck out 15 in just 9 1/3 innings. He has allowed just one extra-base hit, a double, and has walked six. Opponents are hitting .278 against him.
“They have been huge for us,” said Bowdoin senior catcher Joe Comizio.
“Evan has done a little bit of everything for us,” said Bowdoin coach Mike Connolly. “He has started, pitched in long relief and in short relief. He has been outstanding. He has gotten the job done in every role. By being able to use him in a lot of different ways, that has made our pitching staff more flexible.”
Connolly said Edwards has been “lights out” as a closer.
“Of the nine games he has pitched in, I think he has finished eight of them,” said Connolly. “He has a great slider. It’s nice to know when you have a lead going into the ninth, he’ll come in and we’ll win the game.”
Farley doesn’t mind his diverse role.
“I do whatever the coach needs me to do for the day. I just try to help the ballclub,” said Farley, who features a fastball, cutter and changeup.
“Right now, I’m feel pretty confident with what I’ve got going on,” added Farley, who was 2-1 with a 5.61 ERA a year ago.
He likes to get ahead in the count with his fastball or cutter so he can try to keep opposing hitters off-balance with his changeup.
The sweep of Trinity was special, according to Farley.
“That was great. This is my senior year and I’ve been waiting for that for three years,” said Farley, a former Hampden Academy standout.
Edwards was a setup man a year ago before taking over the closer’s role this season.
“(Closing) is a lot of fun,” said Edwards. “You get to go in there and throw as hard as you can for an inning.”
Edwards said he was able to “solidify myself” in the closer role during the spring trip to Florida.
“A lot of young guys have come in and done a really good job in the setup role,” said Edwards.
He said his slider has been “my most consistent pitch.
“I’ve been throwing it since my sophomore year in high school,” explained Edwards. “That has been my go-to pitch.”
He also has a live fastball to complement his slider.
“And my arm has felt great this year. It’s the best it has been in my three years, Hopefully, it will stay that way,” said Edwards, who was also used sparingly as an outfielder his first two years and hit .333 and .286, respectively.
He hasn’t hit this season.
Edwards, who starred at Bangor High School, was 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA last season over 12 appearances and 11 2/3 innings a year ago.
“You have to have a good closer and Ian has given us that,” said Comizio.
Bowdoin College senior first baseman Dan Hicks said the two relievers have “meant a lot to our team.”
“They are two of the most consistent pitchers on our staff. Evan eats up innings and hitters pound the ball into the ground against him. He pulls the string on them,” said Hicks. “Ian has developed a nasty slider that has been working for him.”
The Polar Bears will play a three-game set with archrival Colby this weekend. They will host Colby for a single game on Friday at 3 before traveling to Waterville for a noon doubleheader on Saturday.