Joe Bramanti of the University of Maine follows through on a swing during a baseball game earlier this season. Credit: Ryan Long | UMaine Athletics

The University of Maine’s baseball team’s 15 wins this season were the fewest by a Black Bear team since the late Jack Butterfield’s last team went 15-5 in 1974.

The Black Bears went 15-34 this spring and were dispatched in two straight games in the America East tournament for the first time since 2015.

“It was a disappointing season,” said UMaine head coach Nick Derba, who is in his second full season as the head coach after serving as the interim coach in 2016.

“The worst part is we had the pieces to win it [the conference championship]. But we were a very inconsistent team. And it’s tough to win like that,” Derba said.

The statistics validate Derba’s assessment.

The Black Bears had the lowest batting average among the seven America East teams (.236) and scored the fewest runs. They also had the second-worst fielding percentage (.968), so it’s no surprise they underachieved.

The Black Bears’ 5.91 earned run average wasn’t anything to write home about, but it ranked fourth in the league.

Along with the stats, you have to take into consideration that UMaine’s nonconference schedule included 10 games — all losses — against NCAA Tournament teams Florida State (36-21), Mississippi State (46-13) and Liberty University of Virginia (42-19).

Derba admitted that he put together the grueling early-season schedule for the wrong reasons.

“Budgetary reasons,” Derba said, noting that UMaine received financial guarantees from those schools.

“But [the guarantees] barely covered our flight to go there,” said Derba, who added that he won’t make that mistake again and will have more winnable games on next year’s early schedule.

UMaine lost its first 14 games this season and was 1-17 before beginning conference play, which does not help a team’s confidence.

However, UMaine wound up 11-12 in America East and was the fifth seed before losing to No. 4 UMass Lowell 5-0 and No. 6 Hartford (6-5) in the conference tourney. The Black Bears went into the final weekend of the regular season with a remote chance to finish second and earn a first-round bye.

The future is up in the air as next month’s Major League amateur draft could have a major impact on the 2020 roster.

Two of UMaine’s three All-America East first-team selections — ace right-hander Cody Laweryson and right fielder Hernen Sardinas — are juniors, which means it is their draft year.

If both return, the Black Bears could be a legitimate contender. If not, they will be relying on newcomers or inexperienced players to fill the void.

UMaine does graduate two-time, all-league first-team third baseman-designated hitter Danny Casals, who hit .282 this season with eight homers and 25 runs batted in. Also departing are second baseman Caleb Kerbs (.240-1-19) and left fielder Colin Ridley (.242-1-20). Casals, who spent the majority of the season as the DH due to a tender throwing shoulder, led the team in runs scored (40) and stolen bases (11), and Ridley was tops in doubles with 15.

Casals hit 26 homers and drove in 110 runs in his four-year career and hit .292.

The only significant pitching loss is No. 2 starter Nick Silva (4-6 record, 5.45 earned run average), who struck out 219 in 232 2/3 career innings and was a solid playoff performer.

Former freshman All-American Justin Courtney, a graduate student who concluded his career with a 10-14 record and a 4.21 ERA, was limited to just 21 innings while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Three starting infielders and both catchers are back, but Sardinas would be the only outfielder who started regularly.

Sophomore Joe Bramanti was a first-year starter at first base and hit an impressive .296 with 3 homers and 31 RBIs on his way to an All-AE second-team spot. Shortstop Jeffrey Omohundro, a junior-college transfer and a first-year starter, hit .171 but finished well.

Starting catcher Cody Pasic (.250, 20 RBI) played third most of the year due to Casals’ injury. He hovered around the .300 mark most of the season.

Freshman AE All-Rookie catcher Ryan Turenne (.245-2-13) provided a valuable bat and made dramatic strides behind the plate.

Derba said Pasic and Turenne, who could DH, will both be in next year’s lineup.

St. Bonaventure transfer second baseman Mike Magnanti, who hit .321 two years ago and will be a fifth-year student, will probably start at second or shortstop. Incoming freshmen Johnny Cohen and Connor Goodman will also be in the infield mix.

Sardinas (.298, 34 RBI, league-leading 11 homers) would anchor the outfield if he returns. Mike Sabatine (.167, 3 RBI), injury-plagued Kevin Doody (.121, 10 RBIs) and incoming freshman Carlos Linares are among the candidates, and Derba is bringing in a junior college player.

Laweryson (5-5, 2.85) had an exceptional junior year. Sophomore Peter Kemble (3-7, 6.37) was used as a starter and reliever and probably will start. Incoming freshman Colton Carson of South Paris is another possibility along with Hampden Academy’s Alex McKenney, who missed the season after having Tommy John surgery.

Nick Sinacola (0-1, 6.81) may also become a starter, and newcomers Bryant Madden and Andrew Ruggiero will be in the mix.

Junior Trevor DeLaite had an outstanding year as a first-time closer (1-2, 7 saves, 2.12) and will remain in that role. Matt Pushard (0-2, 6.33), Matt Geoffrion (0-3, 6.88) and Dillon Stimpson (1-2, 5.78) could make up a deep relief corps if they progress. Derba is also bringing in another junior college pitcher.

Derba said he must develop a more competitive practice regimen so his players maximize their potential and play better, more consistent baseball.