After pounding out 50 hits and scoring 42 runs in its baseball series at Hartford last weekend, the University of Maine’s bats went silent on Friday.
The Black Bears now find their America East Tournament hopes all but dashed.
Albany swept the doubleheader at Mahaney Diamond in Orono, winning 3-0 in eight innings and 9-3. That, coupled with UMass Lowell’s 7-4 and 7-1 sweep of Hartford, means the only way the Black Bears can earn a postseason berth is to sweep Albany on Saturday and have Hartford beat UML twice.
The league was divided into two four-team divisions this season to limit the travel during the COVD-19 pandemic. The top two teams in each division, by conference winning percentage, qualify for the tournament.
Albany (22-21) leads the A Division with its 20-16 league record and has clinched a tourney berth. UMass Lowell (19-26) is 18-18 while UMaine (19-20) is 14-17 and Hartford is 16-20 both overall and in the league.
Albany’s sweep left UMaine with a 5-10 record at Mahaney Diamond this spring.
The teams will conclude the regular season with a noon doubleheader on Saturday.
In Friday’s opener, the Black Bears mustered only five hits off Albany starter Ray Webber and reliever Rob Manetta. Will Feil’s two-out RBI single in the eighth, followed by Johnny Marti’s two-run homer, decided it.
UMaine went 1 for 14 with men on base and squandered a glorious opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning of the seven-inning game. Connor Goodman and Scout Knotts opened the inning with singles and Goodman moved to third on a fly ball to center.
But Joe Bramanti fouled out and, after a catcher’s interference call loaded the bases, Weber struck out Quinn McDaniel.
John Daly triggered the eighth-inning rally for Albany with a base hit and Marc Wangenstein sacrificed him to second.
UMaine starter Nick Sinacola struck out the next hitter, but Feil singled to right to drive in Daly and the left-handed Marti then ripped his fifth homer of the season down the right-field line.
Marti went 2 for 2 and Feil went 2 for 4.
Weber (7-1) allowed four hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and two walks. Manetta gave up one hit and had a strikeout to pick up the save.
Knotts had two singles for UMaine and Sinacola (8-3) pitched a seven-hitter with 14 strikeouts and two walks. Sinacola increased his school single-season strikeouts record to 128.
In the nightcap, Steven Turk, Manetta and Marshall Winn teamed up on a five-hitter and Marti and Wangenstein each belted homers as Albany erased an early two-run deficit to complete the sweep.
Wangenstein’s three-run homer in the fourth, his fifth of the season, snapped a 2-2 tie and Marti’s two-run shot in the seventh made it 7-2.
Turk (1-0) allowed two runs on four hits through six innings before Manetta hurled two scoreless innings. Winn gave up a solo homer to McDaniel in the ninth.
Marti and Wangenstein each went 2 for 4 and Chris Fisher added two singles.
UMaine didn’t have any repeat hitters. Bramanti’s double was the only other extra-base hit along with McDaniel’s fifth homer of the season.
Noah Lewis (4-5) was the losing pitcher, allowing six hits and five runs in three innings.