ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s superb starting pitching continued Sunday afternoon.
So, too, did its offensive struggles.
Freshmen Daniel Zamora and Chad Lee combined on a four-hit shutout, leading Stony Brook to a 1-0 victory over UMaine in the finale of the three-game America East baseball series at Mahaney Diamond.
Freshman Jack Parenty singled home the game’s only run with one out in the 10th as the Seawolves halted the Black Bears’ nine-game winning streak.
UMaine swept Saturday’s doubleheader, 2-1 and 3-2, behind the pitching of Tommy Lawrence and A.J. Bazdanes.
““We won another series, which is great, but we need to try to sweep there and try to put them away so we can maybe not see them in the tournament,” UMaine coach Steve Trimper said of the defending champion Seawolves (14-26, 7-11 AE).
On Sunday, first-place UMaine (24-15, 13-4 AE) couldn’t get anything going against left-hander Zamora, who allowed three hits in eight innings and struck out nine.
“He had that good slider that was his out pitch,” said UMaine co-captain Mike Fransoso. “We’re such a lefty-dominant lineup and for that pitch, it’s tough for lefties to hit and he did a good job throwing it to both sides of the plate.”
Lee (2-0) worked around some trouble in his two innings, but earned the win.
UMaine squandered an outstanding performance by junior righty Mike Connolly, who gave up four hits in nine innings. He struck out five, walked one and hit a batter.
The Black Bears went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, stranding a man at second in each of the last three innings.
“He did great today,” Fransoso said. “He shoved it to them and we just couldn’t get some of the hits that we needed.”
Parenty collected three singles for Stony Brook. Fransoso, Colin Gay, Jonathan Salcedo and Troy Black singled for UMaine.
The Seawolves ended the stalemate in the 10th. Reliever Luke Morrill of South Thomaston walked leadoff man Josh Mason, who reached second safely on Michael Hubbard’s bunt back to the mound.
Morrill struck out Austin Shives, but Parenty lined a 2-0 pitch to center field that evaded Colin Gay’s diving attempt, scoring Mason.
“We’ve been losing some heartbreak games this year, all in the last inning,” Parenty said. “Two games [Saturday] we put up a fight, just couldn’t get the wins. Today we rallied together and got the win.”
Parenty had one of several defensive gems by SBU, a leaping catch at the fence of Kyle Silva’s fly ball to left in the seventh.
In the 10th, Gay was hit by a pitch with one out. Fransoso grounded out to first base, then shortstop Cole Peragine knocked down Alex Calbick’s grounder up the middle and threw him out.
UMaine had threatened in the ninth when Silva and Eric White of Brewer worked one-out walks. Salcedo fouled out, but Black laced a single to center. Mason charged and threw out pinch runner Nick Bernardo at the plate.
“Sometimes you have to try to squeak one out and they made great plays,” Connolly said. “They threw a guy out at the plate and they saved a run by diving up the middle.”
SBU stranded four runners in the first three innings, then managed only two in the next five frames.
On Saturday, Lawrence and Bazdanes pitched back-to-back complete games, allowing only three runs combined.
Lawrence scattered six hits in UMaine’s 2-1 victory in the opener, then Bazdanes pitched a four-hitter in the Bears’ 3-2 win in Game 2, which was the 400th career coaching victory for Trimper.
In Game 2, senior righty Bazdanes (5-3) struck out a season-high nine batters and walked two, throwing 131 pitches.
“I was a little up [in the strike zone] at times,” he said. “I gave up those runs, but I adjusted,” he added.
He retired the leadoff man in the first eight innings, but gave up two runs in the sixth on Courtney’s long, two-run double to center.
Bazdanes made it stand up.
UMaine had loaded the bases in the fourth, when Stony Brook head coach Matt Senk was ejected for arguing with an umpire, but didn’t score.
“That’s why I give A.J. credit, because he didn’t get that wiggle room and he kept us in the game,” Trimper said.
Connolly had two singles and an RBI for UMaine and Fransoso singled twice while Silva posted an RBI single.
UMaine reached SBU starter Brandon McNitt (2-4) for a single run in the third and two in the fifth.
In the third, Calbick grounded a two-out RBI single through the middle.
The Bears made it 3-0 in the fifth on Silva’s opposite-field single and White’s RBI fielder’s choice.
“We knew they’d come right after us,” Calbick said. “They don’t walk a lot of guys, as [is] evident from today’s games.”
Courtney doubled twice for the Seawolves.
In Saturday’s opener, Lawrence allowed a run in the first, thank blanked SBU the rest of the way for his sixth straight win. The junior righthander (7-2) struck out two, walked one and received three double plays from his defense.
“His curveball wasn’t on today, but his cutter was unbelievable,” Connolly said of Lawrence. “Tommy just grinds it out.”
UMaine scratched out only five hits against ace righty Frankie Vanderka (4-3), but the Bears came up with clutch hits in the fourth and fifth innings.
UMaine tallied the eventual game-winner in the fifth on Balzano’s RBI single.
The Seawolves grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Anthony Italiano’s sacrifice fly.
UMaine tied it up in the fourth. Fransoso grounded a one-out single through the middle and scored from first on Calbick’s opposite-field double to left.
“We knew we had to battle and play clean [error-free] defense,” Trimper said. “We turned double plays to help the pitchers out and our pitchers threw a lot of strikes.”