September 20, 2020

Bears hit, but miss pitching Maine miscues costly vs. UNC-Wilmington

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The University of Maine had no trouble scoring runs during the NCAA baseball regional at the University of North Carolina.

The problem for the Black Bears was, neither did their opponents.

UMaine piled up 20 hits Saturday afternoon, but committed five errors, and North Carolina-Wilmington racked up 19 hits of its own on the way to a 21-19 victory at Boshamer Stadium.

The teams combined for 40 runs, three shy of the NCAA Tournament record. Ten players registered three or more runs batted in, while 16 of the 18 starters for the two teams posted at least one base hit.

“When you score 19 runs, you usually win the game. It’s frustrating,” said UMaine junior co-captain Joel Barrett of Brewer. “It’s kind of like the story of our season: We swung the bats, didn’t really play well defensively and we didn’t get that big pitching performance.”

UMaine, under first-year coach Steve Trimper, closed out the season at 35-22-1 after winning the America East championship and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.

Winthrop eliminated UNC-Wilmington on Sunday, using a three-run ninth inning to collect a 5-3 victory and earn a berth in the championship round against host North Carolina.

For the second day in a row, Black Bear pitchers were unable to avoid giving up the big inning. Freshman starter Jose Mendoza (3-2) hit two batters and was victimized by two errors during a five-run second inning, then tired as the Seahawks tallied eight runs in the sixth to take the lead for good.

The Bears rolled out Josh Zyskowski, John Tesseyman, A.J. Balsinde and Jason Weymouth, who were touched up for 10 runs (8 earned) and 12 hits over the last 3 2/3 nnings.

“It’s a tough game to watch, a tough game to coach, because you’re trying to find an answer and sometimes there’s not an answer,” Trimper said. “The only thing I could do for the guys was keep it positive and keep telling them to fight back.”

Sophomore Curt Smith capped his season by going 5-for-6 with five RBIs. He stroked a two-run single in the first inning, had an RBI single in the second, singled in the fourth and sixth, then rapped a two-run double in the seventh.

“I just did what I did all season, try to hit the ball hard every time,” Smith said. “I think what happened was, both teams came out to play hard and they were both hitting the ball hard and we scored a lot of runs.”

Freshman catcher Sean Parker, frosh third baseman Kevin McAvoy of Brewer and senior center fielder Joe Hough each slammed a three-run home run and two singles for the Bears. Smith and McAvoy were named to the regional’s All-Tourney team.

“I felt like it was a good experience for all the younger guys because a lot of the younger kids stepped it up in this regional and they played really well,” Parker said.

It wasn’t enough.

UMaine rocked UNC-Wilmington ace Thomas Benton to the tune of 10 runs and 11 hits over the first three innings. The Bears led 10-6 going into the pivotal sixth inning.

Mendoza walked Kenny Smith, Mike Marbry grounded a single to left and Chris Hatcher grounded into a fielder’s choice. Jason Appel punched an RBI double to right-center, John Raynor bunted his way on with a fielder’s choice that plated a run and Jonathan Batts got aboard when second baseman Danny Menendez booted a grounder.

Mendoza was lifted in favor of Zyskowski, who allowed Daniel Hargrave’s infield hit and Grayson Evans’ RBI single to right, then gave way to John Tesseyman. Lee McLean, the ninth batter of the inning, bounced a two-run double down the first-base line and Marbry added a two-out RBI single to give the Seahawks a 14-10 lead.

UNC-Wilmington tacked on three more runs in the seventh.

The Bears rallied for four runs in the seventh and five more in the ninth, but the Seahawks scored four times in the last two innings to keep the upper hand.

“It’s a typical thing we’ve done all year, we’ve fought back,” Trimper said. “I think it just shows the resiliency of our guys. They really don’t quit. It’s so much fun to coach guys that don’t quit.”


(Saturday Afternoon)

UNC-Wilmington (42-21) Maine (35-22-1)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI

C. Hatcher, c 7 2 2 3 Hough, cf 5 3

Appel, rf 7 2 4 3 McGraw, dh 4 2 3

Raynor, cf 5 2 1 3 Barrett, 1b 3 3 0

Batts, dh 3 3 0 1 Quintal, lf 6 3 0

Barefoot, ph 0 0 0 0 C. Smith, ss 6 1 5

Hargrave, 1b 6 2 1 1 McAvoy, 3b 6 2 4

Evans, lf 6 3 4 1 Ostrander, rf 6 1 0

McLean, 3b 5 2 1 3 Parker, c 6 3 3

K. Smith, 2b 4 3 2 3 Menendez, 2b 4 1 0

Marbry, ss 5 2 4 1

Totals 48 21 19 19 Totals 46 19 20 18

UNC-Wilmington 050 108 313 – 21

Maine 613 000 405 – 19

E-K. Smith; C. Smith, McAvoy 3, Menendez; LOB-UNC-Wilmington 9; Maine 7; 2B-C. Hatcher 2, Appel, McLean; C. Smith; 3B-Appel; Quintal; HR-Raynor; Hough, McGraw, McAvoy, Parker; S-Raynor, Marbry; Menendez; SF-K. Smith; McGraw; SB-Hatcher, Appel, Raynor

UNC-Wilmington IP H R ER BB SO

Benton 3 1/3 11 10 6 2 3

Hundley (W, 2-0) 2 2/3 3 2 2 1 4

Flood 2/3 2 2 2 1 0

J. Hatcher 1 1/3 2 3 3 1 1

Paul 1 2 2 2 0 1


Mendoza (L, 3-2) 5 1/3 7 11 7 1 3

Zyskowski 0 2 2 2 0 0

Tesseyman 2/3 2 1 0 0 0

Balsinde 1 2/3 4 4 3 2 1

Weymouth 1 1/3 4 3 3 1 0

Zyskowski pitched to 2 batters in the 6th, Hundley pitched to 2 batters in the 7th, J. Hatcher pitched to 3 batters in the 9th

HBP-Batts (by Mendoza), McLean (by Mendoza); WP-Hundley; BK-Hundley, Flood; Balsinde; PB-Parker; T-3:34; ATT-1,351

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