ORONO, Maine — The University of Hartford entered Saturday’s America East baseball doubleheader against the University of Maine averaging six runs per game.
But four pitchers from the state of Maine limited the Hawks to two runs and 11 hits as the Black Bears swept 1-0 and 3-2 on a blustery, frigid day at Mahaney Diamond.
The Hartford bats came alive on Sunday, pounding out 15 hits as the Hawks built a 10-2 lead before surviving a late Black Bear rally for a 10-6 win to salvage the final game.
Billy DeVito induced Jeremy Pena to fly out with the bases loaded to end it.
UMaine is now 9-16 overall, 3-3 in America East, while Hartford is 8-16, 2-4.
In Saturday’s opener, Bangor’s Justin Courtney pitched eight innings of two-hit ball and Moscow’s Cody Laweryson picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief.
In the nightcap, Cumberland’s Jonah Normandeau tossed six innings of nine-hit, two-run ball to notch his first win of the season and Saco’s Jeff Gelinas worked around a leadoff walk in the seventh to collect his fourth save.
“Those guys have snow in their veins. This isn’t a big deal for them,” grinned UMaine interim head coach Nick Derba. “They did a great job.”
In the first game, the Black Bears won it in the ninth inning on a wild pitch by freshman lefty Drew Farkas. Tyler Schwanz drew a leadoff walk off John LaRossa, Lou Della Fera sacrificed him to second, Caleb Kerbs reached on an infield single and Jon Bennett greeted Farkas with a line-drive single to center.
Farkas’ 1-1 fastball to the left-handed hitting Hernen Sardinas sailed up and inside and ticked off the top of surprised catcher Erik Ostberg’s glove.
“The pitcher crossed up the catcher. That wasn’t supposed to be the pitch that was thrown,” said Hartford coach Justin Blood.
Courtney struck out five and walked two while throwing 108 pitches, including 71 strikes.
“I threw around 80 percent fastballs,” said Courtney, a junior right-hander who also threw a curve, slider and changeup. “My fastball felt real good. It had a little bit of jump on it. And I hit my spots all day. The plan was to attack the hitters from the beginning and it worked out pretty well.”
Hartford had a golden opportunity to score in the seventh when David MacKinnon lined a leadoff double to left-center and Ostberg, the nation’s leading hitter at .506 to start the day, was walked intentionally.
But after failing to put down a sacrifice bunt, Ben Bengtson flied out to right, then Ashton Bardzell flied to center and Chris Sullivan struck out.
Brian Stepniak hurled seven impressive innings of three-hit ball with three strikeouts and two walks for Hartford.
Bennett had two singles for UMaine.
In the nightcap, Chris Bec belted an opposite-field triple and scored on Bennett’s sacrifice fly in the third inning of the seven-inning game to snap a 2-2 tie and center fielder Brandon Vicens threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the fourth inning.
Hartford had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning on MacKinnon’s single, Ostberg’s hooking line-drive RBI triple down the right-field line and a passed ball.
UMaine answered with two in the bottom on the first on a walk, Bec’s infield single, another walk and Kerbs’ clutch, line-drive, two-run single to left off Connor Lewis.
“I was trying to help my team out. I think he threw me a changeup and I wasn’t fooled. I was ready for it,” said Kerbs. “I’ve been focusing on my timing.”
Bec belted his long leadoff triple in the third just inside the right-field line.
“We’re looking to hit the ball the other way and I was lucky enough to get that fastball where I had been looking for it [on the outside corner],” said Bec.
Vicens preserved the lead when he threw out pinch-runner Jackson Olson at the plate on Bryce Ramsay’s fly ball.
“It was shallow and I didn’t think he was going to go but I was ready anyways. My hand got caught in my glove and it was kind of like a pump-fake but I was lucky enough get it out on time and [Bennett] made a good tag,” said Vicens.
Normandeau pitched out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth by inducing a double-play grounder and Gelinas stranded a runner at third in the seventh by getting a game-ending strikeout.
Normandeau walked one and didn’t strike out anyone in his six-inning stint.
Bec had three hits and Kerbs had two for UMaine while MacKinnon, Ostberg, Sullivan and T.J. Ward had two each for Hartford.
“We didn’t get many hits today  but our hits came in big situations and that’s something we hadn’t been doing,” said Derba.
“It was a tough day to hit but we didn’t execute. We didn’t do enough to win a game. They got it done when they needed it,” said Blood.
On Sunday, the Hawks’ Nick Campana snapped a 1-1 tie in a two-run third-inning rally when he greeted struggling righty Nick Silva by belting a lead-off homer to left off an 0-2 pitch.
“He threw me a fastball right down the middle and I had a good swing,” said Campana who was a little surprised to get the fastball “because I didn’t put a good swing on the previous pitch which was a curve.”
Bengtson’s sharp single off the glove of diving third baseman Casals drove in another run and Casals sustained a separated shoulder on the play, according to Derba, and he is likely to be sidelined for at least three weeks.
“It was really important to salvage one game,” said Blood. “The pitchers fell behind so we had good swings early in the game and in the middle and [Maine] had them at the end.”
“I was happy to see how we battled back,” said Derba. “We swung the bats much better. It was a winnable game. But the pitching was awful.”
MacKinnon and Bengtson had three hits and an RBI apiece for Hartford with Ostberg, Bardzell and Dalton Ruch contributing two hits and an RBI each. MacKinnon, Ostberg and Barzell had doubles. Campana had a sacrifice fly to go with his homer.
Sardinas homered and doubled for UMaine; Pena doubled and singled and knocked in a pair and Schwanz and Bennett had two singles each. Bennett had an RBI. Colin Ridley drove in two runs with a single and a groundout.