Baseball Emerges Victorious against NJIT in Extra Innings, 3-2
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- The University of Maine baseball team prevailed over the New Jersey Institute of Technology in extra innings this evening, 3-2. Justin Leisenheimer (Middle Village, N.Y.) hit a walk off single to right field, driving in Tyler Patzalek (Burlington, Ontario) from third base. The Black Bears improve to 6-8 while the Highlanders fall to 4-7. Patzalek went 1-for-3 for Maine, scoring two runs and driving in one.
The Highlanders took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when James D'Aolia hit a double to right field, driving in Mike Rampone who reached on a leadoff double. D'Aloia tried for third on the play, however was thrown out. The one run is all NJIT would get after Black Bear Steve Perakslis (Abington, Mass.) got Tom Bouck to strikeout swinging.
Maine retaliated with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first inning after Tyler Patzalek knocked a single to right, driving in Michael Fransoso (Portsmouth, N.H.) for their first run of the game. Fransoso reached after drawing a walk and stole second base to get in scoring position. Sam Balzano (Portland, Maine) then hit a bunt-single up the middle, moving Patzalek to second who would then advance to third on the throw to first. Alex Calbick (Burnaby, British Columbia) helped Patzalek complete his trip around the bases after Calbick singled through the right side to drive Patzalek home.
The Highlanders tied the game 2-2 in the top of the third inning when Matt Weckerle singled to center field, driving in Ed Charlton from second base. Charlton reached after drawing a walk and stealing second base. Maine got the third out of the inning when catcher Tyler Patzalek caught Weckerle stealing, throwing a strike to shortstop Michael Fransoso who applied the tag.
Patzalek and Fransoso teamed up again to catch another Highlander stealing to get the third out of the top of the fifth inning. This time, it was Mike Rampone to tried to steal second, however was met by Fransoso who tagged Rampone out.
Solid pitching from both squads kept the game tied at 2-2 through the next innings. Steve Perakslis threw a stellar eight innings for Maine, giving up seven hits and two runs. He would walk four and strikeout six of the batters he faced. NJIT's Tripp Davis would end his outing after eight innings also, allowing four hits and two runs. He also struck out six and surrendered three walks.
Mike Connolly (Middleborough, Mass.) came in for the Black Bears in the ninth and made quick work of the Highlanders, getting Bryan Bleakley to fly out and striking out Brian Keane and Jeff Pizzi. Highlander relief pitcher D.J. Roche gave up a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth inning, however forced the game to go to extra innings after retiring the next three Black Bears in a row.
Maine nearly won the game in the bottom of the tenth inning when Troy Black (Mississauga, Ontario) singled up the middle, sending Fran Whitten (Westborough, Mass.) from second around third and on his way home, however was thrown out at the plate, sending the game into the eleventh inning.
It was not until the bottom of the eleventh inning with two outs and the bases loaded that Justin Leisenheimer laced a single through the right side to drive home Tyler Patzalek, helping Maine earn a 3-2 win over NJIT. Patzalek had reached on a two out walk and was advanced to second after Nick Bernardo (Glenmont, N.Y.) was walked in the next at bat. Alex Calbick kept the inning alive after reaching on an error by NJIT shortstop Matt Weckerle and advanced Patzalek and Bernardo. Patzalek would then come around to score after Leisenheimer's single to right.
Mike Connolly Picked up his first win of the season for Maine and improves to 1-2. He threw three innings, giving up only one hit and striking out three. D.J. Roche picked up the loss for the Highlanders after surrendering one unearned run with two hits and three walks. He also struck out one in the 2.2 innings pitched. His record falls to 2-2 on the season.
The Black Bears will play two games tomorrow with the first one being against Fordham. The first pitch is set to be thrown at 10 AM. Maine will then take on host Seton Hall at 2 PM in the afternoon.