September 24, 2019
COLLEGE BASEBALL

Great Danes outexecute Black Bears Maine undone by miscues

BANGOR – The University at Albany continued its domination of the UMaine baseball team Saturday afternoon.

Four Albany pitchers combined to limit the Black Bears to five runs and 11 hits as the Great Danes swept their America East doubleheader at the Winkin Baseball Complex on the campus of Husson College.

Defending league champion Albany (8-24-1, 4-4 AE) won the first game 5-2 and took the second game 8-3 after the teams split a Friday twinbill.

The Great Danes have taken three of four regular-season games from coach Steve Trimper’s Black Bears (11-16-1, 1-3 AE) for three straight seasons.

“Things didn’t go our way this weekend, but we’ve just got to go at it next game,” said UMaine junior Billy Cather.

“We need to have a better presence at the plate and in the field, everything, and then just up our intensity, too,” he added.

Trimper’s frustration with the weekend, the umpiring in particular, was evident as he chirped from the dugout in the seventh inning of the nightcap and was ejected for the second time in the series.

Albany received strong starts from righthanders Josh Willimott and Dave Kubiak, who kept UMaine batters at bay on a chilly, gray afternoon. Both featured plenty of curveballs, sliders and changeups.

The Bears went 5-for-18 with runners in scoring position during the twinbill and were kept off-balance by an Albany staff that featured lots of offspeed pitches. The Bears stranded 16 baserunners in the two games.

“They know we’re a fastball-hitting team,” said Bears senior co-captain Curt Smith. “Now, I think it’s important for us to work on our offspeed pitches, try to hit them and get ready for this weekend, because I’m sure UMBC [Maryland Baltimore County] is going to do the same thing [next weekend].”

UMaine also had difficulty on the mound. Four pitchers surrendered only 12 hits in the two games, but they issued 12 walks, hit five batters and uncorked four wild pitches.

The Bears also failed to execute a handful of key defensive chances, which resulted in four unearned runs in the nightcap.

“It’s physical mistakes that we can’t keep making,” Trimper said. “Any team, it doesn’t matter how good they are, they can capitalize on those mistakes.”

In Game 1, Ryan Gugel and Kyle Crean stroked two-run hits in consecutive innings to put Albany ahead for good.

Willimott (4-1) limited UMaine to four hits through five innings and Sean Gregory, who worked five innings of one-run relief Friday night, pitched two innings of shutout relief.

The Bears went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

UMaine starter Kyle Benoit (2-1) had difficulty finding the strike zone. He walked six in four innings, struggling to get his breaking stuff over.

Albany batters were patient all day and got clutch base hits.

Trailing 1-0, the Great Danes scored twice in the third. Brendan Rowland and Sean Donovan singled and advanced on Zac Halloran’s sacrifice bunt.

Gugel plated the runs, hitting a hanging offspeed pitch for a two-run single to center field.

Albany extended the lead to 4-1 in the fourth. Tom Zink singled up the middle and Gary Pitcheralle walked before Crean cranked a high breaking pitch to the base of the right-field fence for a two-run double.

Freshman Jarrett Lukas of Old Town hit a run-scoring single in the second inning and redshirt freshman Joey Martin of Portland had an RBI hit in the sixth for the Bears.

Cather doubled and singled for UMaine.

In Game 2, the Bears couldn’t measure Kubiak (1-0), who gave up three hits and overcame five walks and a hit batter while allowing only three runs in seven innings.

Albany snapped a 2-2 tie with four runs in the seventh off loser Matt Jebb (2-2), who opened the inning by hitting Zink with a pitch. The freshman hit four batters.

It was at that point Trimper got tossed.

The Bears’ defense then stumbled, as Jebb threw high and wide of second on Donovan’s comebacker. Rowland reached on a fielder’s choice bunt, then first baseman Myckie Lugbauer threw late to second rather than making a play at first on a bouncer by Gugel, loading the bases.

Jebb hit Konstanty with a pitch to plate a run and Pete Eichner hit an RBI groundout, making it 4-2.

The game was still well within reach for UMaine – until Jebb bounced a wild pitch that allowed Gugel to score and, when catcher Joe Mercurio tossed the ball back to Jebb between the mound and home plate, Konstanty boldly bolted down the line and scored under the diving tag of Jebb.

“I thought Matt Jebb pitched a pretty decent ballgame, but we blew some plays that we should have made,” Trimper said. “We lost that game, no one beat us.”

Rowland hit a clinching two-run homer in the ninth off reliever Jon Balentina.

Mercurio singled twice to lead UMaine, while Donovan hit two singles for Albany.

pwarner@bangordailynews.net

990-8240

GREAT DANES 8, BLACK BEARS 3

(Saturday’s Second Game)

Albany (8-24-1) Maine (11-16-1)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI

Zink, lf 4 0 0 0 Cather, cf 5 0 0

Donovan, ss 5 2 2 0 Smith, lf 2 1 0

Rowland, lf 4 3 1 2 Lugbauer, 1b 4 0 0

Gugel, c 4 2 1 0 McAvoy, dh 2 0 0

Konstanty, 1b 3 1 1 2 Hasenfus, pr 0 0

Eichner, 3b 5 0 1 1 Howard, ph 0 0 0

Pitcheralle, cf 4 0 1 1 Martin, rf 2 1

Crean, 2b 3 0 1 0 Patane, ss 3 1 0

Liebowitz, dh 3 0 0 0 Lukas, 3b 3 0

Halloran, ph 1 0 0 0 Menendez, 2b 2 0 1

Mercurio, c 4 0 2 1

Totals 36 8 8 6 Totals 27 3 5 3

Albany 100 001 402 – 8

Maine 020 000 010 – 3

E-Lukas (4), Jebb (3); LOB-Albany 7; Maine 9; 2B-Gugel; Smith; HR-Rowland (5); DP-Albany 1; Maine 1; S-Howard, Lukas; SF-Menendez; SB-Hasenfus (1), Menendez (6), Mercurio (3)

Albany IP H R ER BB SO

Kubiak (W,1-0) 7 3 3 3 5 6

Noble 2 2 0 0 3 3

Maine IP H R ER BB SO

Jebb (L,2-2) 7 6 6 2 1 8

Balentina 2 2 2 2 0 2

HBP-Gugel, Konstanty 2, Zink (by Jebb), Crean (by Balentina); Patane (by Kubiak); WP-Kubiak, Noble; Jebb; T-2:30; ATT-100

GREAT DANES 5, BLACK BEARS 2

(Saturday’s First Game)

Albany Maine

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI

Rowland, lf 4 1 1 0 Cather, cf 3 0 0

Donovan, ss 1 1 1 0 Jackson, dh 4 0 0

West, cf 1 0 0 0 Smith, 1b 4 1 0

Halloran, 3b 1 0 0 0 Lugbauer, c 2 0 0

Gugel, c 3 1 1 2 Patane, ss 2 1 0

Konstanty, 1b-lf 3 0 0 0 Martin, rf 3 1

Zink, dh 2 1 1 0 Lukas, 3b 3 0 1

Liebowitz, ph 1 0 0 0 Menendez, 2b 3 0

Eichner, 3b-1b 2 0 1 1 Howard, lf 3 0

Pitcheralle, lf-cf 2 1 0 0

Crean, 2b 3 0 1 2

Totals 23 5 6 5 Totals 27 2 6 2

Albany 002 210 0 – 5

Maine 010 001 0 – 2

E-Gugel 2 (6); Benoit (1); LOB-Albany 9; Maine 7; 2B-Crean; Cather; DP-Maine 1; S-Halloran; SB-Zink (4)

Albany IP H R ER BB SO

Willimott (W,4-1) 5 4 2 1 2 4

Gregory 2 2 0 0 0 2

Maine IP H R ER BB SO

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

Cox 3 1 1 1 5 3

WP-Benoit, Cox 2; PB-Gugel; T-2:25


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