The University of Maine baseball team had a chance Friday to inch up the America East standings and generate momentum for the upcoming conference tournament.
But the Black Bears were dealt a couple of tough one-run losses at Mahaney Diamond, as the University at Albany claimed game one 7-6 and the second game 3-2 in 10 innings.
The Great Danes are now 24-23 overall and 10-12 in conference play while UMaine falls to 20-27 and 7-12.
UMaine can now finish no higher than fifth in the conference.
The Great Danes struck for a run in the top of the first of the second contest, when Kevin Donati doubled down the left field line.
UMaine answered with a run in the second on an RBI groundout by Caleb Kerbs.
The Bears took their first lead of the afternoon on Christopher Bec’s sacrifice fly to left in the third.
Kyle Sacks tied it for Albany in the top of the sixth with a sharp run-scoring single which chased UMaine starter Nick Silva, who was solid in 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out four and working his way around four walks.
UMaine had a chance to regain the lead in the bottom half but Kerbs struck out looking with men on first and second and two down.
The teams would go to extra innings in the scheduled seven-inning affair, and Donati led off the inning with an opposite-field triple to right.
But UMaine closer Jeff Gelinas did not allow the run to score, getting a short fly ball, a strikeout and groundout to put out Albany’s fire.
The Bears subsequently put runners on first and second with nobody out but could not manufacture anything.
In the 10th, the Danes generated a one-out rally thanks to two walks by Gelinas and Travis Collins knocked in a run with a single to center.
After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Gelins induced a fielder’s choice grounder to second to nail a runner at home plate and an infield pop-up.
UMaine put a runner on first with one out in its half but a ground-ball double play ended the game.
Gelinas went a season-high four innings in absorbing the tough-luck loss, striking out three.
The Great Danes broke the first game open with three-run rallies in the sixth and seventh innings, chasing UMaine starter Justin Courtney in the seventh.
Albany’s three-run sixth inning snapped a 1-1 tie.
Alex Thul drove in two of the Great Danes’ sixth-inning runs with a fielder’s choice grounder to third, with the second run coming in to score on a throwing error.
A Patrick Lagravinese sacrifice fly provided Albany with a 4-1 cushion, which would grow to 7-1 in the following inning.
Collins smacked a two-run triple to chase Courtney and he would later come in to score on a double play.
Albany struck first in the top of the first on Connor Powers’ RBI single, but UMaine came back with one in the home half of the fourth on a run-scoring base hit from Cody Pasic.
The Bears scored a single run in the seventh on Tyler Schwanz’s sac fly.
UMaine attempted to make things interesting in the ninth, batting around and eventually bringing the winning run to the plate. Schwanz walked with the bases loaded on four pitches to make it 7-3 and Colin Ridley’s fielder’s-choice RBI made it 7-4.
Jonathan Bennett followed up by beating out a ground ball to second with a headfirst slide, pulling the Bears within two. Hernan Sardinas subsequently dumped an RBI single into left field, making it 7-6, but a ground ball to shortstop ended it.
Only three of the runs Courtney surrendered were earned, and he scattered eight hits and three walks while striking out one in suffering the loss.
J.T. Genovese pitched six strong innings in picking up the win for the Danes, allowing just one run on four hits while fanning six.
Albany’s Donati finished the twin bill with five hits. The teams will play a single game Saturday at 1 p.m.