Baseball Takes First Two At Maine
ORONO, Maine – The University at Albany baseball team (24-23, 10-12 AE) opened its final weekend of the 2017 regular season Friday with a road doubleheader against America East opponent Maine (20-27, 7-12 AE). The Great Danes took both games from the Black Bears, winning the first game 7-6 and then winning the second in extra innings 3-2. The two wins put UAlbany over .500 for the first time since March 19. Further, the 24 wins and the 10 conference wins each exceed the team's totals from last season.
UAlbany struck quickly with one run in the top of the first inning of the first game. Patrick Lagravinese led off reaching base safely on an error by Maine's first baseman. Evan Harasta, batting second, singled through the right side, allowing Lagravinese to advance to second. Lagravinese scored in the next at bat, when Connor Powers hit a single to left.
Two scoreless innings passed before Maine tied the game with one run in the bottom of the fourth inning. A scoreless fifth led to three UAlbany runs in the top of the sixth. Travis Collins hit a leadoff double to right, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch in Kyle Sacks' ensuing at-bat. The next two batters, Matt Hinchy and Nick Kondo, reached base on a walk and a fielder's choice, respectively, loading the bases. Alex Thul reached on a second consecutive fielder's choice, during which both Hinchy and Collins scored. Collins was able to cross the plate on a throwing error by Maine's third baseman. The Great Danes' third run of the inning came in the very next at-bat, when Lagravinese hit a sacrifice fly to center, allowing Kondo to cross the plate.
UAlbany scored three more runs in the top of the seventh to take a 7-1 lead. Powers led off with a double to right, that was ultimately ruled a single after the ball hit the third base umpire. Kevin Donati next hit a single down the left field line, allowing Powers to advance to third. Collins next hit a triple to right center, scoring both Powers and Donati. Sacks hit a single to third before Hinchy grounded into a double play, which allowed Collins to score.
Maine responded with one run in the bottom of the seventh to cut the Great Dane lead to five. The Black Bear's rally in the bottom of the ninth fell just short, with four runs scored to bring the final score to 7-6 in favor of UAlbany.
Powers led UAlbany with three hits, and Collins and Thul each had two RBIs. Great Dane starter J.T. Genovese (4-1) lasted 6.0 innings, allowing one run (none earned) on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Hunter Torres pitched 2.1 innings in relief, allowing five runs on three hits with one strikeout and three walks. Dominic Savino pitched the final 0.2 innings, allowing two hits to earn his fifth save of the season.
UAlbany scored seven runs on 13 hits and committed two errors. Maine scored six runs on 10 hits, also committing two errors.
Friday's second game was decidedly lower scoring than the first. UAlbany once again scored one run in the top of the first inning, jumping out to a quick lead. With two outs, Powers hit a single to left, followed by an RBI double down the left field line by Donati.
Maine scored once in the bottom of the second and once in the bottom of the third to take a 2-1 lead. The fourth and fifth innings passed without a score, before UAlbany tied the game with one run in the top of the sixth. Collins worked a two-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch in Hinchy's ensuing at-bat. Hinchy ultimately was hit by a pitch, taking first base before Sacks hit an RBI single to right center that scored Collins from second base.
Neither team scored in the seventh inning, sending the game into extras. After a scoreless eighth and ninth, UAlbany broke the 2-2 tie in the top of the 10th. With one out, Powers worked a walk, and advanced to second when Donati hit a single through the left side. Collins hit an RBI single up the middle, allowing Powers to score from second. A quick 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th sealed the game for UAlbany, 3-2.
Donati led UAlbany in the second game with three hits. Donati, Collins, and Sacks each had one RBI, and Powers scored two runs. Great Dane starter Kenny McLean lasted 5.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Brendan Smith relieved McLean, allowing one walk before Savino (5-3) entered the game to pitch the final 5.0 innings, allowing five hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
UAlbany scored three runs on eight hits with one error. Maine scored two runs on nine hits and committed two errors.
The Great Danes will close out the regular season seeking a series sweep against the Black Bears at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. UAlbany has clinched the four-seed in the America East tournament after Friday's games, and will play either Hartford or Maine in the tournament's first game on Wednesday, May 24.