The University of Maine baseball team had its slim chances to finish second and earn a first-round bye in the America East Tournament dashed on Friday as Binghamton pushed across a seventh-inning run on Jake Evans’ bases-loaded fielder’s choice to earn a 2-1 victory in the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader in Orono.
UMaine had won the opener 4-1.
However, even if UMaine had swept the Bearcats, it wouldn’t have mattered because Albany took two from Hartford, which would have eliminated UMaine anyway.
UMaine, 11-11 in the conference and 15-31 overall, can finish anywhere from fourth to sixth and will play in Wednesday’s opening round of the tournament at Binghamton in Vestal, New York.
Binghamton, 11-9 and 22-22, can earn the second seed and a first-round bye with a win over UMaine on Saturday at 11 a.m. and an Albany (13-9, 27-21) loss to Hartford (11-12, 20-31). UMass Lowell (11-12, 18-34) split a Friday doubleheader with league regular season champion Stony Brook (15-8, 28-20) and they will play one more on Saturday.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County (6-17, 21-30) failed to make the playoffs.
The seedings are based on conference winning percentage.
A former UMaine College World Series Most Outstanding Player, Brewer pitcher Joe Ferris, will become the sixth member of the Wall of Legends in a 10:35 a.m. ceremony on Saturday. He led UMaine to a third-place finish in the 1964 CWS.
In Friday’s nightcap, which was a seven-inning affair, the decisive rally was started by Anthony Meduri, who singled to right with one out. Pinch-hitter Sam Freedman followed with a base hit and both moved up on a wild pitch.
Justin Drpich was walked intentionally and Evans’ grounder to short plated Meduri.
T.J. Wegmann staked Binghamton to a 1-0 lead with his first homer of the season, a blast to right to lead off the third inning.
But UMaine answered in the bottom of the third on Mike Sabatine’s one-out single, Jeffrey Omohundro’s base hit and Cody Pasic’s run-scoring single to right center.
There were no repeat hitters in the game and Wegmann’s homer was the only extra-base hit.
Freshman Jack Collins picked up the win in relief of Nick Gallagher with two innings of one-hit, shutout relief. He struck out three and walked one. He is now 2-2.
Gallagher allowed four hits and a run in five innings with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Nick Silva (4-6) was the hard-luck loser as he tossed a complete-game four-hitter with seven strikeouts and two walks.
In the opener, Cody Laweryson, Matt Pushard and Trevor DeLaite teamed up on an eight-hitter and Pasic broke a 1-1 tie with a sacrifice fly in the third following a Hernen Sardinas triple to right.
The Black Bears tacked on an insurance run later in the third on Danny Casals’ single and Joe Bramanti’s RBI double to right center.
UMaine added another run in the eighth on singles by Caleb Kerbs, Ryan Turenne and Sabatine.
America East home run leader Sardinas gave UMaine a 1-0 lead when he roped Ben Anderson’s first pitch of the game over the right field fence for his 11th of the season.
Binghamton tied it in the third on Daniel Franchi’s lead-off triple and Shane Marshall’s ensuing double, but Laweryson retired the next three hitters to work out of further trouble.
UMaine answered with its decisive two-run rally in the bottom of the third.
Laweryson allowed seven hits over seven innings with six strikeouts and two walks. He improved to 5-4. Pushard allowed a hit in the eighth and DeLaite allowed a walk in the ninth and picked up his seventh save.
Anderson allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings and the America East wins leader is now 8-4.
Sardinas had a single to go with his homer and triple and Sabatine contributed three base hits. Casals doubled and singled and Turenne chipped in with a pair of singles.
Marshall had a pair of singles to accompany his double and Franchi produced a single along with his triple.