SMITHFIELD, R.I. -- The University of Maine baseball team fell in both games of the doubleheader today against Bryant University. Game one was ended with a score of 4-1 while game two was finalized at 8-3. The pair of losses puts the Black Bears at 7-14 on the year while the wins bump the Bulldogs to 11-10 thus far. Colin Gay (Franklin, Mass.) went 1-for-2 in game one with an RBI while Ian Leisenheimer (Middle Village, N.Y.) went 1-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs in game two.
In game one, Bryant jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The inning started with a leadoff single through the left side by Dan Muscatello, who then moved to second when Kevin Brown was hit by a pitch in the next at bat. The pair then advanced on a wild pitch, putting them both into scoring position. Both came in to score after Jamie Skagerland doubled down the right field line, giving Bryant their first two runs of the game. The third came in on a sacrifice fly to right field by John Mullen, scoring David Soltis. Soltis had reached on a walk earlier in the inning and advanced to third on Skagerlands' double.
Maine chalked up their first run of the game in the top of the third inning after Colin Gay (Franklin, Mass.) drove Michael Fransoso (Portsmouth, N.H.) in from third base. Fransoso had reached after crushing a leadoff triple to right field. After three innings, the score was now 3-1.
The Bulldogs tallied another run in the bottom of the fifth inning after Adam Claire reached on a one out walk. Ben Lipper came in to pinch run for Claire and then moved on to third base after Connor Carnignan singled down the right field line. Lipper then came home on a sacrifice fly by Dan Muscatello, giving Bryant a 4-1 lead. Tyler Patzalek (Burlington, Ontario) and Michael Fransoso connected for the third out of the inning after Patzalek threw Carnignan out after he tried to steal second.
That would be all the Bulldogs needed to take game one of the double header. Starter Jeffrey Gibbs (Toronto, Ontario) took the loss for the Black Bears, dropping his record to 0-4 on the year. Gibbs went six innings, giving up three hits and four earned runs with two walks and four strikeouts. Craig Schlitter pitched seven innings while giving up four hits and one earned run. He also walked one and struck out five.
In game two, Maine took a 1-0 lead after Fran Whitten (Westborough, Mass.) came home from third on a two out fielder's choice from Eric White (Brewer, Maine), as there was also a throwing error on the play. Whitten reached first base on a leadoff single to start the inning and stole second base to get into scoring position. He then moved to third after a single by Justin Leisenheimer (Middle Village, N.Y.).
The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game after a six run bottom of the third inning. Four of those runs came on a grand slam to right field by Mike Delponte while the other two came on a double down the right field line by Kevin Brown. Maine was able to turn a double play to help secure the second and third outs of the inning. With three innings in the books, Bryant had a 6-1 lead over the Black Bears.
Bryant added a pair of runs in the next inning when Dan Muscatello singled to center field, driving in Jonathon Scott from third base. Scott had reached on a leadoff walk and moved into scoring position after Connor Carignan laid down a sac bunt. Muscatello then came in to score from third after David Soltis hit a sacrifice fly to center field. After four innings of play, Bryant contained an 8-1 lead.
Relief pitcher Shaun Coughlin (Northford, Conn.) made quick work of the Bulldogs in the bottom of the sixth inning, striking out all three batters he faced. Connor Carignan and Kevin Brown went down swinging while Dan Muscatello struck out looking.
Ian Leisenheimer added two more runs to the Black Bears' total in the top of the eighth inning when he pelted a two run shot to center field on the first pitch he saw. Alex Calbick (Burnaby, British Columbia), who had reached on walk in the previous at bat, also scored on the play. Despite the homer, the game would finalize at 8-3, giving the Bulldogs the win.
Starting pitcher Mike Connolly (Middleborough, Mass.) went two innings, giving up four hits and six runs, five of which were earned. He also walked two and struck out two. Connolly's record falls to 1-3 on the year. Joseph Michaud went seven innings for the Bulldogs, surrendering three hits and one run which was not earned. He walked one and struck out seven batters.
Maine will take the field again on Friday, March 30 when they take on Norfolk State in the first game of a four game series. The first pitch is set to be thrown at 4 p.m.