The University of Maine’s baseball team lost starting junior third baseman and third-leading hitter Jake Rainess for the season after he broke the index finger on his throwing hand.
The right-handed Rainess, who is from Baltimore, Maryland, but attended Bridgton Academy, is hitting .319 with five doubles, two homers and 10 runs batted in. He will have two years of eligibility remaining after this season.
UMaine head coach Nick Derba said the injury came during Saturday’s 15-14 win over the University of Maryland Baltimore County when Rainess was trying to lay a bunt down. The pitch was inside so he pulled his bat back, but the ball hit him on the right hand.
He stayed in the game and produced a double and two singles. The finger swelled up by the next day but felt better. Derba gave Rainess the day off, then the team had it X-rayed and a crack in the knuckle was found. The manager called it “a big loss.”
“Jake can be the best player on the field at any moment. He has some juice. He moves runners. He does a lot of things for us and he’s a fantastic defender at third,” Derba said. “But we’ll cover it up.”
Rainess hit .260 last season with four doubles, a triple, four homers and 17 RBIs. He played a variety of positions including center field and second base.
Connor Goodman replaced him in the lineup on Sunday and had a two-run double in three at-bats. He also had a pair of walks. Goodman was the starting third baseman last season and is one of the candidates to replace Rainess.
Goodman, a junior from Miami Beach, Florida, has just that double in 14 at-bats this season. He hit .287 a year ago while starting all 44 games with eight doubles and 18 RBIs.
The other possible replacements are freshman Myles Sargent from Greenland, N.H., sophomore Jayson Gonzalez from Rahway, N.J. and senior Dylan McNary from Centerville, Mass.
McNary is a transfer from Villanova University in Philadelphia who played in 83 games there, mostly at shortstop. Sargent has appeared in 10 games with five starts and has three hits in 21 at-bats. McNary has appeared in one game and Gonzalez hasn’t played yet. Gonzalez appeared in 11 games last season and hit .280 with three runs batted in.
UMaine entertains defending America East tournament champion the New Jersey Institute of Technology for a three-game set on Friday (4 p.m.), Saturday (1 p.m.) and Sunday (noon).
Both teams are 7-2 in conference play. UMaine is 10-13 overall while NJIT is 12-11.