ORONO, Maine – The University of Maine baseball team split a doubleheader with Hartford on Saturday afternoon at a warm, sunny Mahaney Diamond in Orono, Maine. The Black Bears won the first game 5-3, before dropping the second game 3-1. Maine moves to 25-16 on the season and 14-5 in America East play. Hartford sees its record move to 13-27, 10-10 in America East.
In the first game, Hartford took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Brian Estevez doubled down the left field line and scored when Brady Sheetz singled to center field.
Maine tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Michael Fransoso (Portsmouth, N.H.) walked and then stole second base. The steal was the 70th of his career, breaking Mark Sweeney's (1988-91) Maine record of 69. Fransoso moved to third base when Alex Calbick (Burnaby, British Columbia) beat out an infield single. Fransoso scored on a sacrifice fly by Brian Doran (Ayr, Ontario).
The Hawks took the lead back in the top of the fifth inning. Adam Touhey singled and scored when Estevez singled to shortstop.
Maine took the lead for good with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sam Balzano (Portland, Maine) walked and Fransoso reached on a bunt single. Calbick reached on an error to load the bases. Balzano and Fransoso both scored when Doran singled to center field. Calbick scored the third run of the inning when Eric White (Brewer, Maine) singled to center field. Mike Connolly (Bridgewater, Mass.) plated the fourth run of the inning when he drove home Doran with a single.
The Hawks added a run in the top of the seventh inning to make it a 5-3 final.
Tommy Lawrence (West Haven, Conn.) went 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits while striking out four. He gets the win and improves to 8-2 on the season. It was the seventh consecutive win for Lawrence without suffering a loss. Shaun Coughlin (Northford, Conn.) recorded the final two outs to earn his second save of the season.
Kyle Gauthier went five innings and allowed one run on three hits. Brian Murphy replaced Gauthier on the hill. He surrendered four runs in one inning to suffer the loss. He falls to 0-2 on the season.
In the second game, Hartford scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second inning. Ryan Lukach walked and Chris DelDebbio singled to center field. Lukach scored on a passed ball and DelDebbio scored on a sacrifice fly.
Maine scored its run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Brian Doran walked, moved to second on a passed ball, third on a wild pitch and scored on a Doran sacrifice fly.
Hartford extended its lead to 3-1 in the top of the eighth inning. Brady Stover tripled and scored when Chris DelDebbio hit a sacrifice fly.
A.J. Bazdanes (Nashua, N.H.) went eight innings on the mound for the Black Bears and struck out a career-high 10 batters. He allowed three runs, just one of which were earned, on four hits. He falls to 5-4 on the season. Logan Fullmer (Lebanon, Pa.) pitched the final inning.
Brian Hunter went four innings in the start for Hartford. He allowed one unearned run on a hit. Anthony Mannuccia, who pitched four shutout innings to earn the win, replaced him. He improves to 2-3 on the season. Jeremy Charles earned his fifth save of the season.
The two teams conclude their three-game America East series in Sunday with a single game starting at noon at Mahaney Diamond.