ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine mustered 20 hits during Friday’s baseball doubleheader against the New York Institute of Technology, but the Black Bears’ difficulty scoring runs continued.
NYIT rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning of the second game to pull out a 4-2 victory, completing a sweep of a nonconference twinbill at Mahaney Diamond.
The visiting Bears won the first game 9-4 and with the sweep sent the Black Bears to their 10th consecutive loss.
Coach Steve Trimper’s UMaine ballclub (5-22) faces Division I independent NYIT (13-15) in a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday.
“It’s the longest losing streak of my professional career,” Trimper said.
“We are practicing like crazy. The frustrating thing to me as a coach is, we work so hard at practice. There’s something that’s not clicking,” he added.
The Black Bears received quality starts on Friday from redshirt freshman Chris Murphy and sophomore John Arel, but supported them with only six runs.
“There’s a difference between hitting and timely hitting,” Trimper said.
“We’re getting hits with two outs. We’re getting hits with no outs and then hitting into a double play. We’re striking out too much in big situations,” he explained.
In the nightcap, the visitors got to the UMaine bullpen for three runs in the seventh. NYIT, which racked up 13 hits in the first game, posted 11 in the second game.
Anthony Caradonna paced NYIT with two doubles, a single and an RBI, while Frank Sanacore contributed two singles and two RBIs. Joe Daru and Matthew DeAngelis each provided two singles.
Junior right-hander Elias Martinez (3-2) scattered five hits and struck out three to go the distance.
“We did have momentum offensively going into the second game [after 15 hits], and it kind of didn’t carry over like we thought,” said UMaine senior Kevin Stypulkowski, who stroked a two-run single in Game 2.
Freshman Jeremy Pena singled twice for UMaine behind Arel, who limited NYIT to seven hits and one run through six innings with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
“I’ve been able to acquire some confidence as the season’s gone on,” Arel said.
“I was using the fastball, and then I had the slider, which was helping me out a lot today, getting strikes on guys we knew we were fastball hitters,” he added.
But sophomore lefty Connor Johnson (1-2) surrendered four hits and three runs in the seventh. Christopher Rula opened the inning with a one-out double to left field and scored the tying run on a single by Daru, who advanced on the throw.
Johnson struck out DeAngelis, but Louis Mele worked a walk, and Caradonna followed with a hard single through the middle to make it 3-2. Sanacore provided an insurance run with another single.
“Our bullpen didn’t do what they were supposed to do,” Trimper said of the doubleheader effort.
UMaine grabbed a 2-0 advantage with one out in the third. Danny Casals beat out an infield hit and Pena dropped down a bunt hit. After they moved up on mishandled pickoff throw to second, Stypulkowski punched a single to left.
NYIT knicked Arel for a run in the sixth when DeAngelis pulled a single to right, took third on a double by Caradonna and scored on Sanacore’s infield hit.
Arel battled back to strike out the next two batters and maintain a 2-1 lead, but it didn’t hold up.
In Game 1, Mele snapped a scoreless tie with a three-run home run in the fifth inning and the visitors slowly broke the game open.
NYIT starter Matt Diaz (2-2) blanked UMaine through five innings, scattering seven hits (seven strikeouts, two walks). Chris Johnson and Timothy Milligan each worked two innings in relief and maintained the lead despite allowing eight hits and four runs.
Mele was the catalyst for NYIT as he added an RBI single. Jake Lebel drove in two runs with a home run, a double and a single, while Sanacore (double) posted three hits and an RBI and Rula doubled and singled.
Murphy (0-2) had his best outing thus far. The righty gave up four hits and three runs in six innings, racking up 10 strikeouts with two walks and a hit batsman.
“Every time I’ve pitched this year, I’ve gotten a little bit better, so today was obviously the best I’ve thrown all season,” said Murphy, who is coming off Tommy John surgery in 2014.
Stypulkowski led UMaine with a two-run home run and a single and freshman Colin Ridley stroked a solo homer and two singles. Casals, Tyler Schwanz, Brett Chappell and Caleb Kerbs contributed two singles apiece.
NYIT grabbed a 3-0 lead in the fifth, which began when Lebel’s high fly ball to center field was misplayed into a double by Chappell. Murphy fanned out the next two batters, but DeAngelis worked a walk and Mele stroked a three-run homer to center.
The visitors added three runs in the seventh against reliever Charlie Butler on Daru’s two-run homer and Sanacore’s RBI single.
UMaine responded as Casals reached on an infield single and scored on Stypulkowski’s towering two-run homer to right. Ridley smacked a solo shot with two outs to cut the deficit to 6-3.
But NYIT extended its lead with a two-run eighth that included a solo home run by Lebel and a two-out RBI single by Mele.
The Black Bears are confident the slump will end.
“You’ve got to go out there and keep playing every day like it’s a new day,” Stypulkowski said. “That’s the good thing about baseball, we’ve got two more tomorrow. Hopefully we can bounce back.”