The University of Maine’s baseball team exacted some revenge on the University of Massachusetts Lowell in their America East Tournament opener on Thursday in Vestal, N.Y.
The regular season champion Black Bears, who lost to UMass Lowell in their tournament opener a year ago in Orono, received three hits and two runs batted in from sophomore first baseman and America East Player of the Year Jeremiah Jenkins and homers from Quinn McDaniel, Nick White and Matt McElwain to outslug the fifth-seeded River Hawks 10-7.
UMass Lowell advanced to Thursday’s game with a 6-0 win over Bryant (R.I.) on Wednesday in the single elimination portion of the tournament. It is now a double-elimination affair.
UMaine, 30-19, will now take on second seed the University of Maryland Baltimore County (30-25) in Friday’s 1 p.m. winner’s bracket game. UML, 20-34, faced No. 3 Binghamton (28-22) on Thursday at 7 in an elimination game after losing to UMBC 7-3 earlier in the day.
UMaine spotted UMass Lowell 3-1 and 5-4 leads before taking the lead for good with two runs in the fifth inning. The Black Bears added three in the sixth to expand the lead to 9-5 and hung on for the win.
McElwain’s two-run homer in the fifth chased home Jenkins, who had singled, and then Jenkins singled home a pair of runs in the sixth before Connor Goodman’s fielder’s choice scored the third run.
Trey Brown’s fourth homer of the year, a two-run shot, cut the lead to 9-7 in the seventh but Goodman plated an important insurance run in the eighth with a two-out base hit.
The teams swapped first-inning runs as Fritz Genthner singled home a run in the top of the first and Nick White answered with an RBI double in the bottom of the frame.
Genthner’s ninth homer, a two-run job, regained the lead for UML in the top of the third but UMaine scored three in the bottom of the inning on McDaniel’s 15th of the season and fourth homer in his last three games and White’s two-run shot. It was his third.
UMass Lowell regained the lead with two in the fourth on Robert Gallagher’s RBI double and Genthner’s run-producing fielder’s choice.
White drove in three runs for UMaine with his homer and double; Goodman had two hits and two RBIs and Colin Plante singled twice.
UMaine starter Colin Fitzgerald lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and three runs with a walk, two hit batsmen and three strikeouts.
South Portland’s Noah Lewis came on in relief and earned his seventh win in eight decisions with 5 1/3 innings of five-hit, four-run baseball (3 earned). He struck out four and walked three.
Graduate student Justin Baeyens earned his seventh save by retiring the side in order in the ninth.
Genther drove in four runs with his homer and single for the River Hawks. Brandon Fish had a pair of base hits.
Starter Matt Draper absorbed the loss and is now 3-9. He allowed seven hits and six runs, four earned, over five innings with eight strikeouts and a walk.