ORONO, Maine —Only three days after completing one of the most prolific offensive performances in school history, the University of Maine had to work hard to score Tuesday afternoon.
The Black Bears scratched out 10 hits, including nine singles, against Division III Colby College of Waterville on their way to a 5-1 baseball victory at Mahaney Diamond.
“Maybe the bats were a little tired today, I don’t know,” quipped UMaine senior Ian Leisenheimer, who singled twice and scored a run.
“You take a win whenever you can get it,” he said. “That’s 10 in a row for us, so that’s a nice little number.”
Five pitchers combined to limit the Mules to five hits as the Black Bears (17-14) continued their win streak.
Fran Whitten, who replaced injured starter Luke Morrill of South Thomaston (elbow) three pitches into the contest, won for the second straight week. The sophomore righthander (2-1) gave up three hits and a run with three strikeouts and a walk in three innings.
Sophomore Eric White of Brewer worked three shutout innings as coach Steve Trimper’s ballclub kept Colby (9-10) from taking advantage of several scoring chances.
The Mules of former Black Bear Dale Plummer stranded 12 baserunners and went 0-for-7 with men in scoring position.
“We just didn’t take advantage of some opportunities that we had at the plate,” Plummer said. “We struck out too many times in crucial situations, left too many runners on base, had too many guys thrown out on the bases.”
Freshman Scott Heath of Westbrook singled twice and scored two runs to pace UMaine. Whitten stroked a run-scoring double for the game’s only extra-base hit, while Tyler Patzalek and Alex Calbick each posted an RBI single.
Nikolas Atsalis singled and scored to lead Colby, with Devlin McConnell providing an RBI groundout.
Connor Sullivan made a solid start for the Mules. The senior righthander limited the Bears to seven singles and four runs through six innings.
“I was trying to get ahead of batters offspeed and put them out with offspeed, too. I got my changeup going,” said Sullivan, who featured an overhand curveball and the changeup.
“It was awesome,” Sullivan said. “Knowing that I was pitching coming into the game, I was pretty fired up and I think we did pretty well.”
The Bears scored single runs in the first two innings to take the lead for good.
In the first, Leisenheimer beat out an infield single with two out and Heath grounded a single through the middle. Patzalek followed with a hard, RBI single to center field.
In the second, Whitten worked a leadoff walk and took third when Justin Leisenheimer fisted a single to center. Troy Black delivered the run with a fielder’s choice.
“He (Sullivan) did a great job throwing curveballs for strikes,” Trimper said. “We’ve just go to do a better job adjusting when we see that big variance (in pitch speeds).”
Colby scored in the third after one was out. Atsalis lined an opposite-field single to right, stole second and then worked a double steal with Robb Arndt, who had walked. McConnell grounded out to produce the run.
The Bears made it 4-1 in the bottom of the inning. Heath laid down a bunt single with one out, Patzalek was hit by a pitch and Calbick grounded a run-scoring single through the right side.
A fielder’s choice grounder by Whitten made it 4-1.
Colby left four baserunners on in the first three innings, then stranded two in the fifth and one in the sixth.
UMaine added a run in the eighth against Lucas Geoghegan when Heath reached on an error, Patzalek was hit by a pitch and Whitten roped a double off the right-field fence.
UMaine returns to action Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader to open a three-game America East series against Hartford at Mahaney Diamond.