College Baseball

Massachusetts uses 14 hits, seven walks to defeat UMaine

Posted April 25, 2012, at 7:36 p.m.

AMHERST, Mass. — Each of the University of Maine’s six pitchers allowed at least one run Wednesday afternoon as the University of Massachusetts registered an 11-5 baseball victory at Lorden Field.

The Minutemen (15-14) scored three runs in the third inning and piled on five in the fifth to take the lead for good.

It was the third straight loss for coach Steve Trimper’s Black Bears (21-17), who posted 12 hits and left eight runners on base.

UMaine returns to Mahaney Diamond in Orono on Saturday to open a three-game America East series against Albany with a 1 p.m. doubleheader.

Lefthander Conor LeBlanc (4-0) allowed nine hits and five runs in 6⅓ innings to pick up the victory for UMass. The bullpen supported him with 2⅔ innings of shutout relief.

Tom Conley knocked in three runs with two singles to head the Minutemen’s 14-hit attack. Alex Tuneski stroked a solo home run and two singles with another RBI, while Rich Graef singled twice and plated two runs.

Mike Fransoso paced the UMaine offense with a home run, a triple and a single. Justin Leisenheimer rapped a triple and two singles (1 RBI) and Sam Balzano of Portland provided three singles and an RBI.

The Bears’ starters occupying the Nos. 2-4 spots in the batting order went a combined 1-for-13 on the afternoon.

UMass broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning. Ryan Cusick started the rally with a leadoff double and rode home on Kyle Adie’s single to left off Bears reliever Fran Whitten (2-2). One out later, Adie stole third and scored on Conley’s single to left.

Whitten was replaced by Jeff Gibbs, who walked Tuneski and surrendered an infield single to Nik Campero. Gibbs struck out the next batter, but walked Nick Sanford and pushed another run across with a wild pitch.

Graef followed with an infield hit that gave UMass an 8-3 advantage.

UMaine got on the board early as Fransoso opened the game with a triple and scored on Colin Gay’s groundout.

The Bears tied it up in the fourth. Whitten singled to ignite a two-out rally, then scored on Leisenheimer’s triple to center field. Balzano plated the second run with an infield single, but LeBlanc got Troy Black to hit into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

UMaine added its final two runs in the seventh when Balzano singled and rode home on Fransoso’s two-run homer to right.

Black Bear pitchers issued seven walks, including four by starter Jon Balentina, who had three in the Minutemen’s three-run third.

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