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Baseball Knocks Off #16 Clemson in Season-Opener 6-5
CLEMSON, S.C. - The University of Maine baseball team opened the 2012 season with a 6-5 victory over #16 Clemson on Friday afternoon in Clemson, S.C. in front of 3,793 fans. Colin Gay (Franklin, Mass.) had a big two-run home run to initially put the Black Bears on the board. Fran Whitten (Westborough, Mass.) and Mike Connolly (Middleborough, Mass.) each had huge RBI singles in the top of the 8th as Maine scored two run to break a 4-4 tie.
The Black Bears start the season 1-0, while Clemson falls to 2-2 on the campaign.
Maine took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. Mike Connolly reached on an error and then Colin Gay followed with a home run down the left field line.
Maine added to its lead in the top of the sixth inning. Ian Leisenheimer (Middle Village, N.Y.) singled to shortstop and was pinch run for by Sam Balzano (Portland, Maine). Alex Calbick (Burnaby, British Columbia) singled and Balzano advanced to second base. Fran Whitten (Westborough, Mass.) belted a RBI single to right field, plating Balzano. Calbick scored the second run of the inning when Brian Doran (Ayr, Ontario) singled down the left field line.
Clemson got on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning. Dominic Attanasio reached on an error. Thomas Brittle singled up the middle and Attanasio advanced to third base. Steve Wilkerson hit a two-run double to left field, scoring both runs. Richie Shaffer doubled to left field and Wilkerson scored. The Tigers tied the game at 4-4 Phil Pohl singled to center field.
Maine regained the lead in the top of the eighth inning. Calbick walked and scored when Whitten singled to center field. Doran followed with a single to left center. Connolly drove home Whitten when he singled to left field.
Stephen Perakslis (Abington, Mass.) went 6.1 innings on the mound. He allowed three runs, two of which was earned, on eight hits. He struck out a pair of batters and walked two as well. He was replaced by D.J. Voisine (Plainville, Conn.) who pitched a third of an inning. Jonathan Balentina (Willemstad, Curacao) went 1.1 innings and allowed one run. He picks up the victory. Shaun Coughlin (Northford, Conn.) pitched the ninth inning to earn the save.
Kevin Brady got the start and went five innings on the mound for the Tigers. He allowed two runs, neither of which were earned, on four hits. He struck out five batters. He was replaced by Matt Campbell who went two innings and allowed two runs on four hits. Scott Firth went 1.1 innings and allowed just one hit. Jonathan Meyer went 0.2 innings and allowed two runs on three hits.
The two teams play game two of their three-game series on Saturday, Feb. 25.