WATERBURY, Conn. – Jim Dillon learned earlier this week that his role had changed again. In the course of the season, Dillon had gone from the primary closer to the No. 1 starter.
Maine Coach John Winkin, whose bullpen has been ineffective for the last month of the season, informed Dillon that he would be the bullpen closer in the first game of the NCAA Northeast Regional and would probably get a start later in the tourney.
Dillon answered the call as he has all season, hurling 1 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief as Maine beat Iowa 4-3 in their NCAA Northeast Regional opener.
Dillon got the win, his ninth in 11 decisions.
“I know what Coach wants and I agreed with him,” said the senior from Scarborough. “Pressure situations are good. I like coming in in situations like that. You either have guts to do it or you don’t. I do.”
“I come ready to pitch and I just go out and do my job,” said Dillon, who stranded the go-ahead run on third in the eighth inning before allowing just one hit in the ninth.
Dillon said he warmed up in a hurry and “didn’t have real good pop on my fastball” as a result of it.
“But I’ve got to be satisfied with it,” said Dillon, who primarily used his sidearm and overhand fastballs.
“Dillon did a great job,” said Iowa Coach Duane Banks.
Dillon was pitching on three days rest after his start against Fordham in the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship game Saturday.
He went seven innings in that start and was touched up for the grand slam homer by Bill Champi in the seventh inning that gave Fordham a 6-5 lead in the game it eventually won 9-7 in 10 innings.
“I didn’t give that game any thought,” said Dillon. “That’s in the past now.”
In addition to Dillon, Chuck Nadeau gave Winkin 1 1/3 innings of no-hit, shutout baseball and got out of a first-and-third, one-out jam with the score tied 3-3 in the seventh.
“It felt good to get some outs,” said Nadeau.
“Chuck did his job,” said Dillon. “We did everything right. We got the key hit and the key pitch when we needed it.”