LOWELL, Mass. – Opening the America East tournament with a fourth-consecutive game against Maine, the University at Albany baseball team (25-24, 10-13 AE) shut out the Black Bears (21-28, 8-12 AE) 3-0 to earn a matchup with top-overall seed Binghamton Thursday at 11:00 a.m.
The Great Danes jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Travis Collins hit a single to right center. In the next at-bat, Kyle Sacks was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Marc Wangenstein reached safely on a fielder's choice that had Sacks forced out at second and saw Collins advance to third. Collins scored on an error by the Maine catcher on Wangenstein's steal attempt during Alex Thul's ensuing at-bat.
Thul led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a home run to left to give UAlbany a 2-0 lead. Maine loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the sixth but came away with no runs after Great Dane starter Jack McClure struck out the Maine batter swinging to neutralize the threat.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Collins hit a single to left. Sacks then hit a single to left of his own, allowing Collins to advance to third. Matt Hinchy pinch hit for Wangenstein, and reached safely on a fielder's choice when Collins beat out a play at the plate to give UAlbany a 3-0 lead. UAlbany would go on to win by the same score.
Collins led the team with two hits and two runs scored. Wangenstein and Thul each recorded an RBI. McClure (4-1) lasted 6.1 shutout innings, allowing six hits and recording six strikeouts. Dominic Savino earned his sixth save, pitching the final 2.2 innings without allowing a hit.
“I thought it was an outstanding job on the mound today,” said head coach Jon Mueller. “Jack was very good, and Dom did what Dom does at the end of games for us. Both those guys have been very good for us all year. I thought the big key today was going to be defense, and I thought the defense was solid. Travis made some very nice plays on some tough in-between bounces. We were hoping to have a good start and make a deep run. That's what the goal is for the team. We're hoping to stay in this winner's bracket as long as we can.”
Maine will now await the loser of the game between three-seed Stony Brook and six-seed Hartford for the tournament's first elimination game tonight at 6:00 p.m. The Great Danes will play Binghamton tomorrow morning. The game is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. but may start earlier because of expected inclement weather.