ORONO, Maine -- The University of Maine baseball team dropped a pair of games to Hartford on Sunday afternoon at Mahaney Diamond in Orono. The Black Bears fell 6-4 in the first game in 11 innings and dropped the nightcap 2-1.
The first game featured a battle of two of the league's top pitchers in Maine's Tommy Lawrence (West Haven, Conn.) and Hartford's Sean Newcomb, who entered the game having not allowed an earned run on the season.
Maine jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after one inning of action. Troy Black (Mississauga, Ontario) singled to center field, moved to second when Scott Heath (Westbrook, Maine) walked and then stole third. He scored when Alex Calbick (Burnaby, British Columbia) reached on a fielder's choice.
Hartford took the lead with four runs in the top of the fourth inning. Brady Sheetz, Ryan Lukach and James Alfonso all drew walks to load the bases. Sheetz tied the game at 1-1 when Joe Roberti drew a bases loaded walk. Aaron Wilson singled to first and Lukach scored. Alfonso and Roberti each scored when Dalton Ruch singled to second.
Maine tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Heath led off the inning with a single to right field. Calbick followed with a single and Brian Doran (Ayr, Ontario) drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Heath scored when Jake Osborne (Burlington, Ontario) grounded out. Calbick and Doran both crossed home plate when when Jonathan Salcedo (Providence, R.I.) singled to left field.
The game remained tied until the 11th inning. Roberti walked and Brian Estevez reached on a fielder's choice. Roberti advanced to second on the play. Both runners advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by Ruch. Roberti scored when Trey Stover reached on a fielder's choice. Estevez scored the second run of the inning when Adam Touhey reached on a fielder's choice.
Maine threatened with a pair of runners in the bottom of the 11th, but was unable to tie the game.
Maine's Tommy Lawrence went nine innings, but did not figure into the decision. He allowed four runs on five hits while striking out nine. Charlie Butler (Marlborough, Mass.) replaced Lawrence on the mound. He allowed two runs on one hit over two innings to suffer the loss. He falls to 1-3 on the season.
Sean Newcomb went 6.1 innings and allowed four runs on six hits while striking out eight. The earned runs are the first that Newcomb has allowed on the season. He was replaced by Kyle Gauthier who went 3.2 innings to earn the win. He improves to 3-0. Alex Gouin recorded his sixth save of the season, closing out the game in the bottom of the 11th inning.
In the second game, all the scoring happened in the first inning. Stover led off the game with a single to center field and advanced to second on a sacrifice. Sheetz followed and drew a walk. Stover scored the first run of the game when Lukach singled. Sheetz scored the second run on a sacrifice fly by James Alfonso.
Maine answered with a run in the bottom of the frame. Sam Balzano (Portland, Maine) walked and advanced to third on a failed pick-off attempt. He scored when Colin Gay (Franklin, Mass.) grounded out. Neither team was able to push another run across the rest of the seven inning game.
Shaun Coughlin (Northford, Conn.) went seven innings on the mound for the Black Bears and allowed just two runs on five hits. He struck out three. He falls to 2-3 on the season. Brian Hunter went seven innings for Hartford and allowed one run on just one hit. He struck out three batters as well and improves to 1-5.
Maine falls to 9-18 on the season and 1-4 in America East play. Hartford improves to 15-10 on the season and 5-2 in conference action.
The two teams wrap up their three-game America East series with a single game on Monday, April 7. First pitch is scheduled for 3 PM at Mahaney Diamond.