June 27, 2019
COLLEGE BASEBALL

Pitcher provides punch for Bears UMaine gains Sunday split, takes 3 of 4 games from New York Tech

ORONO – Greg Norton has built a reputation as an outstanding pitcher at the University of Maine.

Sunday afternoon, he experienced the personal highlight of his career – as a hitter.

In his first collegiate plate appearance, the senior from South Portland lashed a two-run double off the fence in left-center field to lift the Black Bears to a 6-5 victory over New York Institute of Technology at Mahaney Diamond.

“That’s the last thing I thought would happen, to tell you the truth,” said Norton, who launched his batting helmet 40 feet in the air and was mobbed by his teammates after rounding second base to push across the winning run.

Senior Joel Barrett of Brewer was surprised, and elated.

“I can’t believe Norty got in that situation; I can’t believe he hit a ball off the fence; and I can’t believe we just scored the tying and winning runs,” Barrett said. “I was just trying to find him and tackle him at second base.”

Norton’s heroics capped off a weekend during which UMaine (12-20) took three of four in the nonleague series. New York Tech won Sunday’s opener 6-4 after UMaine swept Saturday’s doubleheader 9-0 and 4-3.

“Statistically, that’s probably not what you expect to happen,” quipped UMaine senior Matt McGraw of Norton’s hit, which prevented Division I independent New York Tech (12-16) from sweeping Sunday.

Coach Steve Trimpers’ ballclub rallied twice in the finale, erasing a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning, then overcoming a one-run deficit in the eighth.

“They refused to lose and that’s a great little thing for us, a great win,” said Trimper, whose Black Bears have won seven of their last eight games.

It was an unexpected finish to a strange game.

The rally began with one out when McGraw reached on an error by third baseman Denten Neill. Curt Smith then popped up, but left fielder Jerry Smith lost sight of the ball, which fell in for a single.

Steve Faulkner (2-1) was lifted in favor of Louie Bernardi, who walked Barrett to load the bases. He then fell behind 2-0 to Norton, prompting a conference at the mound with the catcher and first basemen.

“They probably told him, ‘this is a pitcher, just throw it down the middle’. That’s what I was banking on,” said Norton, who lined the next pitch off the Hammond Lumber sign.

Norton entered the game in the seventh, as a pinch runner, after Myckie Lugbauer singled.

“It’s been five years since a held a metal bat,” said Norton, who hit two home runs last summer using a wooden bat in Portland’s Twilight League. “I honestly thought I’d never get a chance to hit.”

Ryan Forrest (3-1), who struck out Christian Dienna with runners at second and third to end the eighth, earned the victory in relief. Starter Alejandro Balsinde gave up seven hits and four runs in seven innings.

UMaine first tied the game in the seventh on consecutive singles by Barrett, Lugbauer and pinch hitter Kevin McAvoy of Brewer. Kevin Jackson shot a one-out single through the middle to make it 4-4.

UMaine’s bench was tested in the eighth when Danny Menendez was ejected for using profanity after grounding out to end the inning. Pitcher Mike Powers of Portland was inserted in left field and first baseman Barrett was moved to third base.

“All of a sudden I look at our bench and now I’ve got a real problem,” Trimper said.

In Sunday’s first game, the visiting Bears reached UMaine starter McAvoy for three first-inning runs and never relinquished the lead.

NYIT’s Joe Esposito (4-3), who went into the game holding opponents to a .195 average, pitched a nifty five-hitter.

McAvoy’s first collegiate start got off to a rough beginning. He surrendered three doubles as NYIT gave Esposito a three-run, first-inning cushion with which to work.

McAvoy, who sat out last weekend’s series after suffering a bruised tailbone in a fall down some stairs, bounced back well. He limited NYIT to four hits the rest of the way, but was charged with two unearned runs in the sixth.

In Saturday’s opener, Brad Hertzler (2-3) worked six innings of four-hit shutout ball to get the Black Bears’ weekend off to a positive start. The junior lefty was in command throughout and kept NYIT from making good contact.

“I felt pretty comfortable back on the home field,” Hertzler said.

Hertzler worked out of a two-on, nobody-out jam in the second inning and went on to retire 11 straight batters.

UMaine made Hertzler’s job easier, staking him to an eight-run, first-inning advantage. NYIT starter Frank Ryan (1-3) struggled with his control and couldn’t escape the first inning.

Ryan walked four batters, two of which forced in runs, and surrendered RBI singles to Smith and Jackson, a Menendez sacrifice fly and Billy Cather’s two-run homer.

“It was great for the guys to come out with an awesome start,” Hertzler said. “Then it just makes my job easier to go out there and throw strikes.”

In Saturday’s second game, the Black Bears snapped a 1-1 tie with a three-run sixth.

UMaine managed only five hits against 6-foot-7 lefthander Jon Burke, but made them count and benefited from two NYIT errors.

Norton worked a solid 5 2/3 innings for UMaine, allowing five hits and one run.

McGraw ignited the winning rally with a single, then Smith beat out an infield hit off the pitcher’s leg. The first run scored on an error, while Tavis Hasenfus of Winthrop posted an RBI single and Brian Hackett of Bangor added a sacrifice fly.

New York Tech chased Forrest on Brian Smith’s single, a hit batter and a walk. Balsinde induced double-play grounder, then allowed Esposito’s RBI double before striking out Jerry Smith to clinch his third save.

BLACK BEARS 9, BEARS 0

(Saturday’s first game)

Visitor (record) Home (record)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI

Binick, cf 3 0 0 0 Cather, cf 4 2 2

LaLuna, ss 3 0 2 0 McGraw, c 4 0 0

Murray, c 3 0 0 0 Smith, 3b 4 2 1

Esposito, 1b 3 0 1 0 Barrett, 1b 3 1 1

Richards, 1b 0 0 0 0 Lugbauer, dh 2 1 0

Smith, lf 3 0 1 0 Ostrander, rf 0 0 0

Neill, 3b 1 0 0 0 Jackson, lf 3 1 1

Gilroy, dh 2 0 0 0 Hasenfus, lf 0 0 0

Leonick, ph 1 0 0 0 Hackett, ss 2 1 1

Lucente, rf 2 0 0 0 Brown, rf-p 2 1 1

Garland, rf 1 0 0 0 Menendez, 2b 1 0 1

Smith, 2b 3 0 0 0

Totals 25 0 4 0 Totals 25 9 8 8

New York Tech 000 000 0 – 0

Maine 800 100 x – 9

E-Smith; Barrett, Menendez; LOB-NYT 6; Maine 4; 2B-Menendez; HR-Cather (2); DP-NYT 1; SF-Menendez; SB-Cather, Smith

New York Tech IP H R ER BB SO

Ryan (L,1-3) 2/3 5 8 8 4 0

McDevitt 5 1/3 3 1 1 1 1

Maine IP H R ER BB SO

Hertzler (W,2-3) 6 4 0 0 1 3

Brown 1 0 0 0 1 1

PB-Murray; McGraw; T-1:44; ATT-501

BLACK BEARS 4, BEARS 3

(Saturday’s second game)

New York Tech (11-16) Maine (11-19)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI

Binick, cf 3 1 1 0 Cather, cf 2 0 0

LaLuna, ss 2 1 1 1 McGraw, c 3 1 1

Murray, rf 3 0 1 0 Smith, 3b 3 1 0

Esposito, 1b 3 0 1 1 Barrett, 1b 3 1 0

Smith, lf 4 0 0 0 Lugbauer, dh 2 0 0

Neill, 3b 2 0 1 0 McAvoy, ph 1 0 0

Dienna, dh 3 0 0 0 Ostrander, rf 2 0 0

Gilroy, c 2 0 0 0 Hasenfus, lf 3 0 1

O’Rourke, ph-c 1 0 0 0 Hackett, ss 2 1

Smith, 2b 3 1 2 0 Menendez, 2b 2 0 0

Totals 26 3 7 2 Totals 23 4 5 3

New York Tech 100 000 2 – 3

Maine 001 003 x – 4

E-LaLuna, Gilroy; LOB-NYT 8; Maine 5; 2B-Esposito; HR-LaLuna (1); DP-Maine 1; S-Menendez; SF-Hackett; SB-Neill; Cather

New York Tech IP H R ER BB SO

Burke (L,3-3) 6 5 4 3 2 1

Maine IP H R ER BB SO

Norton 5 2/3 5 1 1 2 2

Forrest (W,2-1) 1/3 1 2 2 1 0

Balsinde (3) 1 1 0 0 0 1

HBP-Neill by Norton, Murray by Norton, Binick by Forrest; T-2:09; ATT-501

BEARS 6, BLACK BEARS 4

(Sunday’s first game)

New York Tech (12-16) Maine (11-20)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI

Binick, cf 3 1 1 0 Cather, cf 2 1 0

LaLuna, ss 4 1 2 3 McGraw, c 3 1 2

Murray, c 3 0 0 0 Smith, 3b 2 0 1

Dienna, dh 3 0 1 0 Barrett, 1b 3 0 0

Richards, pr 0 1 0 0 Lugbauer, dh 3 0 0

J.Smith, 2b 3 1 2 1 Norton, pr 0 1 0

Lucente, rf 2 0 1 0 Jackson, lf 3 0 0

Garland, rf 0 1 0 1 Hackett, ss 3 0 0

Murphy, 1b 4 1 1 0 Brown, rf 1 1 0

B. Smith, 2b 3 0 0 0 Menendez, 2b 3 0 0

Neill, 3b 4 0 2 1

Totals 29 6 10 6 Totals 23 4 5 3

New York Tech 300 002 1 – 6

Maine 100 002 1 – 4

E-LaLuna (12); Hackett (8); LOB-NYT 9; Maine 2; 2B-Binick, Smith, Neill 2; 3B-LaLuna; HR-McGraw (3); DP-LaLuna-B. Smith-Murphy, Neill-B. Smith-Murphy; S-Murray, Smith, Garland; SB-Murphy (1); Smith (3)

New York Tech IP H R ER BB SO

Esposito (W, 4-3) 7 5 4 3 4 2

Maine IP H R ER BB SO

McAvoy (L, 0-2) 5 1/3 7 5 3 3 3

Powers 1 2/3 3 1 1 1 0

T-1:53; ATT-414

BLACK BEARS 6, BEARS 5

(Sunday’s second game)

New York Tech (12-17) Maine (12-20)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI

Binick, cf 4 1 0 1 Cather, cf 4 0 0

LaLuna, ss 4 1 1 2 McGraw, c 4 2 0

Murray, rf-c 4 0 1 0 Smith, 3b-ss 4 1 0

Esposito, 1b 4 0 1 1 Barrett, 1b-3b 4 1 1

Smith, lf 4 1 3 0 Lugbauer, dh 3 0 0

Neill, 3b 4 0 2 0 Norton, dh 1 1 2

Dienna, dh 4 0 0 0 Powers, lf 0 0 0

Doherty, c 2 1 2 1 Hasenfus, lf 2 0 0

Garland, rf 0 0 0 0 McAvoy, ph 1 0 1

Smith, 2b 3 1 0 0 Brown, 1b 0 1 0

Hackett, ss-2b 4 0 0 0

Ostrander, rf 0 0 0 0

Jackson, rf 2 0 1 2

Menendez, 2b 3 0 0 0

Totals 33 5 10 5 Totals 32 6 11 6

New York Tech 003 100 01 – 5

Maine 001 000 32 – 6

E-Neill (8); Smith (17), Barrett 2 (5); LOB-NYT 5; Maine 13; 2B-Smith; McGraw, Smith, Barrett, Norton; 3B-LaLuna; DP-Hackett-Barrett, Balsinde-Menendez; S-McGraw; SB-Binick (16), Neill (6)

New York Tech IP H R ER BB SO

Guarrasi 5 5 1 1 3 5

Roth 1 0 0 0 2 2

Eichhorn 1 4 3 3 0 0

Faulkner (L, 2-1) 1/3 1 2 1 0 0

Bernardi 0 1 0 0 1 0

Maine IP H R ER BB SO

Balsinde 7 7 4 3 1 2

Carroll 2/3 3 1 0 0 0

Forrest (W, 3-1) 1/3 0 0 0 0 1

Bernardi faced two batters in the eighth.

HBP-Ostrander by Guarrasi (2); WP-Eichhorn; T-2:30; ATT-414


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