WEST HAVEN, Conn. - The University of Maine baseball team split a doubleheader at Hartford on Sunday afternoon. The Black Bears dropped the first game 7-6 in nine innings, before responding for a 7-2 victory in the second game. Maine improves to 13-13 on the season and 4-2 in America East play. Hartford moves to 3-15 overall, 3-3 in America East play.
In the second game, Maine jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Sam Balzano (Portland, Maine) reached on an error. Colin Gay (Franklin, Mass.) then walked. Michael Fransoso (Portsmouth, N.H.) reached on a fielder's choice as Balzano was out at third base. Alex Calbick (Burnaby, British Columbia) walked to load the bases. All three runners advanced a base on a wild pitch. Fransoso scored the second run of the inning when Brian Doran (Ayr, Ontario) grounded out.
Maine added a run in the top of the third inning. Gay singled to center field. He then stole second base and moved to third on an error on the play. Gay scored on a passed ball.
Maine added three runs in the top of the fifth inning. Balzano led off the inning with a single to third base. Gay followed and singled to center field. Fransoso ripped a single to right field and Balzano scored. Gay and Fransoso both scored when Calbick singled up the middle.
Maine got a run in the top of the seventh inning. Gay walked and scored when Doran singled to center field.
Hartford got on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ryan Lukach singled to third base. Chris DelDebbio followed with a walk. Joe Roberti doubled down the right field line plating Lukach. DelDebbio scored when Adam Touhey grounded out.
Mike Connolly (Bridgewater, Mass.) got the start on the mound for the Black Bears. He did not allow a run, scattering just three hits over five innings. Connolly struck out three batters in the game. Connolly earned the win and improves to 3-2 on the season. He was replaced by Shaun Coughlin (Northford, Conn.). Coughlin surrendered one hit in 1.1 innings. D.J. Voisine (Plainville, Conn.) allowed two runs while retiring the final two batters.
Sean Newcomb got the start for Hartford and allowed six runs, three of which were earned, on five hits. He struck out eight while walking five. Newcomb falls to 1-3 on the season. He was replaced by Anthony Mannuccia who did not allow a hit in two innings. Tyler Corsi pitched the final inning for the Hawks and allowed one unearned run on a pair of hits.
In the first game, Hartford earned a 7-6 victory in the bottom of the ninth inning, in what was scheduled to be a seven inning game. Hartford took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Trey Stover singled through the left side and scored when Lukach struck out, but reached on a wild pitch.
The Hawks added five runs in the bottom of the second inning. Chris DelDebbio was hit and advanced on a passed ball. Roberti singled to center field and DelDebbio moved to third base. Nick Dummar singled, plating DelDebbio. Stover singled to right field and Roberti scored. Dummar scored when Brian Estevez reached on an error. Brady Sheetz followed and was hit-by-a-pitch. With two out, James Alfonso singled up the middle scoring both Stover and Estevez to extend the Hartford lead to 6-0.
Maine answered back with five runs of their own in the top of the third inning. Gay and Fransoso were each hit. Calbick singled to load the bases. Doran, Scott Heath (Westbrook, Maine) and Fran Whitten (Westborough, Mass.) all drew bases loaded walks forcing home runs. Connolly singled to center field scoring both Doran and Heath.
Maine tied the game in the top of the seventh inning to force extra frames. Gay led off the inning with a single to left center and scored when Doran singled to right field.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the ninth inning. Touhey led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored the winning run when Billy Walker singled to right field.
Jake Marks (Sarnia, Ontario) went 1.1 inning and allowed six runs, three of which were earned, on four hits. He struck out three. He was replaced by A.J. Bazdanes (Nashua, N.H.). Bazdanes went 6.2 innings and allowed one run on five hits while striking out nine batters in relief. He falls to 2-3 on the season.
Brian Hunter got the start and went 2.2 innings. He allowed five runs on two hits while walking five. He was replaced by Brian Murphy who allowed one run on four hits of 5.1 innings. Jeremy Charles pitched the final inning to earn the win. He did not allow a hit and improves to 2-0 on the season.
Maine returns to action on Saturday, March 30 when it travels to Albany for an America East doubleheader.