The No. 13 was an unlucky one for the University of Maine baseball team during its first two series of the season.
The Black Bears returned to campus early Monday morning after being swept in a three-game weekend set at Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Coach Steve Trimper’s team is 1-5 after back-to-back series against the Tigers and Miami, both of which were ranked as high as 13th in the Division I polls while the Bears were in town.
“We’re playing against very good competition and it’s early for us,” Trimper said. “We need to get into a little bit of a groove and get some games under our belt.”
Trimper said UMaine is going through its normal transition from practicing indoors to taking on high-caliber teams on their home fields.
Despite the late return from their trip, team members opted to practice Monday in the Mahaney Dome rather than take the day off.
“It’s nothing to get worried about,” Trimper said of the start. “I think it’s just typical. We play well for a few innings, then poorly, and we’re up and down.”
The Black Bears were outscored 28-7 by Clemson, which is coached by former UMaine baseball and football standout Jack Leggett.
Ace right-hander Tommy Lawrence (0-2) has given up eight runs combined in the first inning of his two starts.
“Tommy didn’t struggle with his control like he did last week [at Miami]. This time he threw more strikes and he got hit a little bit.”
In the second game, UMaine led 3-2 in the fifth when starter Jake Marks (0-1) was lifted with an elevated pitch count. The Tigers put up 12 hits and 10 runs against the Bears’ bullpen.
Junior left-hander Scott Heath of Westbrook (1-1) was not sharp in the series finale and surrendered eight hits and nine runs in 2⅓ innings.
One of the bright spots on the mount was junior transfer Jacob Gosselin-Deschesnes. The righty limited Clemson to four hits and a run and fanned two in relief of Heath.
“He threw well in Miami and he came out [Sunday] and threw extremely well,” Trimper said.
Gosselin-Deschesnes has allowed only four hits and a run in seven innings over three relief stints.
The Black Bears’ offense is averaging only 2.5 runs per game and has a .239 batting average. Senior shortstop Troy Black leads the way at .435 with three runs batted in, followed by senior center fielder Colin Gay (.350, 1 RBI), junior left fielder Sam Balzano of Portland (.348) and junior transfer Steven Adam (.316).
“We’re talking about hitting off good pitching,” Trimper offered.
Senior third baseman Alex Calbick has struggled at .087 (2-for-23) with one RBI, while the Nos. 8 and 9 batters, sophomore catcher Jon Salcedo and freshman second baseman Sky Mercado, are each 0-for-14.
Mercado was limited after suffering a shoulder injury at Miami. Sophomore Shane Bussey, who was serving his six-game suspension for an off-field incident, will return to the lineup during the March break trip.
UMaine departs Thursday for Florida, where on Friday it plays Furman to kick off a string of 15 games in 17 days.