It was a bit of an eye-opening weekend for the University of Maine baseball team.
Coach Steve Trimper’s Black Bears not only swept their three-game series at Albany, they put together an offensive outburst the likes of which had not been seen yet this season.
UMaine mashed Great Danes pitching to the tune of 45 runs and 50 hits, including 19 extra-base hits. The Bears socked five home runs, piled up 12 doubles and also worked 13 walks while batting .407 as a team.
“We just kept scoring,” said Trimper, who admitted Albany’s pitchers seemed to struggle with their control and left pitches up in the strike zone.
“I think the guys are really barreling up balls,” he said. “Not one guy in the lineup didn’t have a big weekend.”
The most productive batters in the order were sophomore shortstop Michael Fransoso and senior outfielder Joey Martin, who hit in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots, respectively.
Fransoso went 7-for-15 with nine runs batted in and six runs scored. He stroked four doubles in the series. Martin, a co-captain from Portland, went 7-for-14 with eight RBis and also scored six runs. He smacked a home run and three doubles.
Trimper also pointed to the warmer weather as making it easier for the Bears to hit better. However, he was pleased with UMaine’s ability to produce runs in a variety of ways.
“We executed two fake-bunt-and-runs, a fake squeeze-and-run,” he said. “We kept it going after the UMBC weekend, where we were really executing some offensive plays.”
In the Nos. 5-6 spots, freshman third baseman Alex Calbick and junior first baseman Justin Leisenheimer also swung hot bats.
Calbick was named the America East Rookie of the Week after going 7-for-14 with seven RBIs. He belted two homers and a triple.
Leisenheimer also went 7-for-14 with five RBIs on the strength of two home runs and a double.
Freshman second baseman Troy Black was an efficient 6-for-9 with four RBIs and four runs scored.
UMaine now ranks second in America East with a .314 team batting average in conference play. The Bears are averaging 6.3 runs per game.
UMaine also leads the league with 35 stolen bases in 42 attempts.
Trimper credited his players with continuing to work hard individually on their batting. The willingness to do that while responding to coaching suggestions has paid dividends.
“These guys made some really good adjustments,” Trimper said. “It’s nice seeing our guys get better as the season goes along and not stay stagnant. They’re really working hard and they’re trying new things.”
The end result for the Black Bears is confidence. They’ll take a positive mindset into this weekend’s three-game series against Hartford at Mahaney Diamond in Orono.
UMaine plays a doubleheader Saturday, starting at 3 p.m., and a single game Sunday at 1 p.m.
Hartford is now playing under interim head coach Jerry Shank after the university fired Jeff Calcaterra on May 4. In six seasons, the Hawks posted a 79-240-1 record (.248) under Calcaterra.
UMaine plans fireworks, dog promotion
UMaine has announced a handful of special events and promotions for this weekend’s baseball series.
Saturday’s doubleheader is “Scout Day,” with all Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts wearing their uniforms admitted free. There also will be a postgame fireworks display.
Sunday’s special event is “Bark in the Park,” which gives fans an opportunity to bring their dog to Mahaney Diamond. The first dog owners to enter the park accompanied by their canine companions will receive a gift bag provided by Green Acres Kennel Shop of Bangor.
Dog owners will be asked to make a $1 donation to the Bangor Humane Society in addition to their paid admission. All dogs must be on leashes and will sit in a special “dog zone” with their owners.
There also will be a table where fans can check out a few dogs that are available for adoption.