BANGOR – Righthanders Joe Miller and Preston Wasmund dueled on the mound for five innings Friday afternoon.
In the end, it was Mother Nature who emerged victorious.
Even though the Winkin Complex at Husson College was nearly free of snow Friday, a cold, steady rain eventually rendered the pitcher’s mound unplayable. As a result, the University of Maine and New York Institute of Technology settled for a 0-0, five-inning tie.
It was the 17th tie in UMaine history and only the third since 1980.
“It stinks to tie a game, but we tried like heck to get this in,” said UMaine head coach Steve Trimper, who is recuperating from Wednesday knee surgery but still coached from a seated position in the dugout.
“We’re fighting [bad] weather and we worked so hard to get the field ready, so we wanted to at least get something in. I think we’ll be fine for the rest of the weekend,” he added.
UMaine and New Jersey Tech are scheduled to play today at approximately 4 p.m. after Husson completes a doubleheader (11 a.m.) against Castleton State.
A contest between New York Tech and New Jersey Tech will follow, conditions permitting, at approximately 7:30.
While the schedule remained up in the air Friday evening, New Jersey Tech and New York Tech are expected to play a Sunday morning contest, with UMaine and New Jersey Tech scheduled to follow with a single nine-inning game.
Friday’s game was called prior to the start of the sixth inning, after New York Tech coach Bob Hirschfield and UMaine assistant coach Jared Holowaty inspected the pitcher’s mound.
Despite having applied lots of drying agent, the dirt on the mound was mushy.
“Once you landed, you were going down a good three inches,” explained UMaine sophomore Joe Miller, who made another impressive start.
Miller allowed only two singles while striking out six and walking one, but he didn’t receive any run support.
“Everything was going today – I was surprised, actually – fastball, slider, curveball and changeup,” Miller said. “We couldn’t piece any timely hitting together, but we’ll be fine.”
Despite scratching out only two hits, UMaine had all kinds of baserunners. New York Tech’s Wasmund walked six and hit a batter but worked his way out of nearly constant trouble.
The Black Bears stranded eight baserunners.
“[Miller] pitched great, we’ve just got to get some hits going,” Trimper said. “If we get a two-out RBI, we win the game in four different ways,” he said. “We just couldn’t capitalize.”
UMaine’s best scoring chance came in the first inning.
Kevin Jackson bounced a one-out single through the middle, then Curt Smith worked a walk. Wasmund induced Myckie Lugbauer to ground out to first base for the second out, then walked Kevin McAvoy to load the bases.
A fielder’s choice grounder to third by Tony Patane ended the threat.
The Black Bears went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the contest.
New York Tech mounted a rally in the third on Julian Richards’ one-out single, a two-out walk to Denten Neill and Mike LaLuna’s infield single. However, UMaine third baseman Jarrett Lukas snared a low line drive off the bat of Jerry Smith to end the inning.
“Jarrett Lukas made a great play at third base on the line drive,” Holowaty said. “He’s done a good job.”
Miller then retired the last six batters he faced.
Holowaty said the teams were fortunate to play as long as they did Friday, thanks to the FieldTurf surface.
“On a regular field, there was about an hour there where we shouldn’t have been playing,” he said.
He said plans for the proposed artificial surface at UMaine call for even the home plate area to be covered in turf, leaving only the pitcher’s mound in dirt.
BLACK BEARS 0, BEARS 0 (tie)
New York Tech (6-9-1) Maine (7-13-1)
Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI
Neill, 3b 1 0 0 0 Cather, cf 3 0 0
LaLuna, ss 2 0 1 0 Jackson, dh 2 0 0
J. Smith, lf 2 0 0 0 Smith, 1b 1 0 0
Dienna, dh 2 0 0 0 Lugbauer, c 2 0 0
Carroll, c 2 0 0 0 McAvoy, rf 1 0 0
B. Smith, 2b 2 0 0 0 Patane, ss 2 0 0
Lucente, rf 2 0 0 0 Martin, lf 2 0 0
Richards, 1b 2 0 1 0 Menendez, 2b 1 0 0
Garland, cf 2 0 0 0 Lukas, 3b 2 0 0
Totals 17 0 2 0 Totals 16 0 2 0
New York Tech 000 00 – 0
Maine 000 00 – 0
E-none; LOB-NYIT 3, Maine 8
New York Tech IP H R ER BB SO
Wasmund 5 2 0 0 6 1
Maine IP H R ER BB SO
Miller 5 2 0 0 1 6
HBP-Smith (by Wasmund); WP-Wasmund; T-1:33; ATT-32