While the college baseball season is more than five months away, the University of Maine has been hard at work during its fall workouts.
The Black Bears earned victories over a Canadian team last weekend at Mahaney Diamond in Orono.
Third-year head coach Steve Trimper really likes what he has seen thus far, especially from his pitching staff.
UMaine has welcomed a large group of pitchers, including freshmen, junior college players and transfers.
“We have some real young, live arms,” Trimper said. “A couple guys have really surprised the heck out of me.”
Among the unexpected positive developments is the pitching of freshman righthander Jim Cox of Bangor.
Cox, a 2006 graduate of Bangor High, is a transfer from Division II Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I., where he did not participate in baseball last season.
“He’s throwing 88-89 [mph] with a hammer slider and a good changeup,” Trimper said. “His two starts in intrasquad have been lights out.”
Last summer, Cox was a key contributor to the Bangor Comrades American Legion team that went 25-7 and finished as the state runner-up. He also helped Bangor High win the Class A state title in 2006.
UMaine also is high on righty Joe Miller of Valley Stream, N.Y., a transfer from High Point (N.C.) University.
Powers among departed Bears
Righthander Mike Powers of Portland is one of four UMaine baseball players who did not return to school this fall.
The former Deering High School star has transferred to Division I Troy (Ala.) University, according to Baseball America.
“He’s a Maine kid and I wanted him to be here,” said Trimper, who explained Powers sought an academic major that involved photography
Powers had a solid freshman season in 2006, posting a 5-4 record with a 4.64 earned run average while earning a spot on the America East All-Tournament Team.
However, he struggled last season and was relegated to a relief role. Powers was 1-3 with a 5.89 ERA in 16 appearances, only three of which were starts.
Powers’ father Marc Powers played at UMaine from 1984-87 and ranks fourth in career saves with 16.
Other departed players include lefthanded pitchers Jose Mendoza and Mitch Clegg, along with catcher Sean Parker, who was suspended from the team indefinitely last spring after an off-field incident at Arizona State.
Baseball golf tourney a success
The UMaine baseball team held another successful edition of its annual golf classic last Friday at Bangor Municipal Golf Course.
Trimper said the program raised more than $30,000 through greens fees, hole sponsorships and numerous auction items.