The University of Maine baseball team will make its America East stretch run without a starting infielder.
UMaine Director of Athletics Karlton Creech confirmed Friday that sophomore Shane Bussey has been suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of of team rules.
Creech also said the contract of associate head coach Jason Spaulding will not be renewed when it expires on June 30. He was promoted to that position last August, although it did not include a pay increase.
Neither Creech nor Black Bears head baseball coach Steve Trimper would make any further comment about the situation involving either Bussey or Spaulding.
Spaulding could not be reached for comment on Friday, and it was not divulged whether he would have an active coaching role during the remaining seven weeks of his contract.
Bussey has been suspended for the second time during the school year. The Black Bears’ starting shortstop accompanied the team on last weekend’s trip to Stony Brook but did not appear in any of the games.
It was then revealed he has been suspended indefinitely. Creech on Friday said it is unlikely Bussey would return to the team this season.
Bussey and teammate Luke Morrill were arrested Dec. 7, 2013, and charged with burglary after they allegedly broke into a UMaine campus shed and removed tools.
Both were suspended from the team indefinitely but remained in school. Each received a six-game suspension from competition, which was served when UMaine played early-season games at Miami and Clemson.
The 20-year-old Bussey hails from Boynton Beach, Florida. He has appeared in 35 games this season, all of them starts.
Bussey was batting .250 with 13 runs batted in and four stolen bases. He had played shortstop and second base, committing 10 errors in 111 chances.
As a freshman, Bussey hit .340 (1 HR, 12 RBI) in 20 games, nine of them starts.
Bussey’s spot has been filled by Morrill, who played third base at Stony Brook.
No details were provided in regard to the situation involving Spaulding.
“He’s still employed through the university, but we’re not going to renew his contract,” said Creech, who offered that “the university” made the decision. “It wasn’t just Steve. We all worked together on it.”
Spaulding has been on the UMaine coaching staff for nearly four seasons and has served as the Black Bears’ pitching coach. He has helped mentor four Major League draft selections: Keith Bilodeau, Jeff Gibbs, Steve Perakslis and Mike Connolly.
Last season, the staff compiled a league-best 3.63 team earned run average that was the program’s best since 2005 and helped UMaine win the America East regular-season title.
This spring, the Bears (19-25) rank fifth in team pitching with a 4.38 ERA, 284 strikeouts and 151 walks.
Prior to UMaine, Spaulding coached two seasons at Manhattan College. The former University of Vermont pitcher was on Catamount teams on which Trimper was an assistant coach.