ORONO — Walks and hit batsmen haunted the University of Maine pitching staff all season and they contributed to the Black Bears’ demise on Friday in an America East tournament elimination game against Stony Brook.
Two walks and a hit batter set the stage for a seven-run, second-inning rally — which was highlighted by sophomore first baseman Chris Hamilton’s bases-loaded triple — and the Seawolves ousted the Black Bears 11-4 at windy and warm Mahaney Diamond.
Fourth seed Stony Brook (32-24) went on to beat No. 2 UMass Lowell 6-5 later Friday evening to earn a berth in the championship round against top seed Hartford (25-29) beginning on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Stony Brook must beat Hartford twice to win the title after Hartford edged UMass Lowell 4-3 in Friday’s first game.
The Black Bears finished up at 20-34, 2-2 in the tournament.
Six UMaine pitchers surrendered just eight hits on Friday but walked six and hit three batters. The staff issued 281 walks and hit 90 batters over 448 1/3 innings this season.
“We were probably the worst team in the nation (control-wise),” said UMaine head coach Nick Derba. “Falling behind 7-0 is a huge mountain to climb. We had 12 hits but we didn’t score enough runs.”
After an easy first inning, UMaine sophomore lefty Trevor DeLaite of Bangor walked Cristian Montes and Michael Wilson on 10 pitches to open the second. Dylan Resk lofted a single into center field to score Montes and DeLaite then hit Andruw Gazzola with a pitch to reload the bases.
Matt Geoffrion replaced DeLaite and Brandon Janofsky blooped an RBI single to right.
Sean Buckhout’s slow bounder to shortstop produced another run and leadoff hitter Nick Grande, Stony Brook’s top hitter at .383 going into the game, was walked intentionally.
Hamilton, a left-handed batter, fouled off three 2-2 pitches before launching his long triple into the gap in right-center field.
“It was a fastball, middle in, right where I wanted it. I was waiting for a pitch inside so I could drive it,” Hamilton said. “The pitches I had fouled off were middle-away.
“After they walked Grande, the guys were up in the dugout cheering me on. I kept battling as hard as I could and it worked out,” Hamilton added.
“That was a great at-bat,” said Stony Brook coach Matt Senk. “There’s nothing like getting the momentum early.”
Hamilton scored on a wild pitch to cap the rally.
The Black Bears answered with three in the top of the third and could have had more.
Cody Pasic drew a leadoff walk from starter and winner Aaron Glickstein (3-0) and Jeremy Pena and Hernen Sardinas followed with sharp singles to load the bases.
After UMaine senior catcher Chris Bec took a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch, Danny Casals belted a towering ground-rule double to left-center against the stiff breeze to deliver Pasic and Pena.
Jonathan Bennett lofted a fly ball to left and the ball glanced off the body of sliding left fielder Resk for a run-scoring double.
With runners on second and third and one out, Brandon Vicens tried to put down a surprise bunt, but he pushed it right back to Glickstein and was thrown out at first without any runners advancing.
Glickstein then got Kevin Doody on a liner to right to end the inning.
Connor Johnson came on for Geoffrion and pitched a scoreless third inning but he and Jonah Normandeau were touched up for four runs in the fourth inning as the Seawolves expanded the lead to 11-3.
Sophomore Glickstein, a reliever making his first start of the season, went a career-high 5 2/3 innings. He allowed eight hits and three runs with three strikeouts and a walk.
“(Pitching coach Jon Lewis) told me nothing should change about the way I should go about it. I just trusted my stuff, I trusted my guys behind me and they scored 11 runs which helped me out big time,” said Glickstein.
“He had pretty good stuff. He was a battler and he threw a lot of strikes,” said UMaine’s Sardinas.
Lefty Cole Creighton came on to get the final out of the inning.
Sardinas touched up lefty reliever Cole Creighton up for a solo homer in the seventh but that was the only run he was to yield. He pitched the final 3 1/3 innings, allowing four hits with a strikeout and no walks.
Hamilton drove in four runs with his two hits and Resk had two singles for Stony Brook.
Sardinas finished with a four-hit game as he also stroked three singles. Bennett and Doody each doubled and singled.
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