Mueller Captures 300th Win In Doubleheader Split With Maine
ALBANY, N.Y. – University at Albany head baseball coach Jon Mueller earned his 300th career coaching victory Saturday afternoon at Varsity Field, as the Great Danes split the conference twinbill with the University of Maine. While the Black Bears won game one, 8-6, UAlbany rallied to triumph, 4-3, in the nightcap piloted by senior Austin Chase’s second consecutive complete-game gem. UAlbany is now 21-18-1 on the season and 14-9 in America East Conference play, while Maine holds a 28-18 overall record and 15-7 league mark.
Chase (6-3) held the Black Bears to just three runs and three scattered hits, while striking out three in nine full frames. The East Greenbush, N.Y. native has now earned victories in each of his last five outings on the mound.
Maine jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the nightcap, as Sam Balzano lined a leadoff double and scored on an infield groundout. In the second inning, a leadoff hit batsman and stolen base led to another groundout RBI.
In the bottom of the third, UAlbany stole the lead, tagging Maine starter A.J. Bazadanes for two runs. Joey Tracy led off with a single to left and senior Nolan Gaige followed with an RBI triple to the left-centerfield gap. Sophomore Gordon Madej kept the rally alive and knocked in the go-ahead run with a single to right field.
Maine, currently the top team in the America East standings, tied it up, 3-3, in the top of the fourth, as leadoff batter Mike Fransoso was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on Alex Calbick’s RBI double down the right field line.
Both squads threatened to take the lead in the fifth, but Chase and Bazdanes held the opposition stranded at third.
After Chase’s perfect sixth, the Great Danes scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Madej sparked the rally with a leadoff single up the middle, moved to second on Nethaway’s plunk, setting up Hoagboon’s one-out RBI double to left field.
With the bases loaded after an intentional walk, UAlbany looked to break the game wide open, but Maine reliever Burk Fitzpatrick got out of the jam with consecutive outs. Fitzpatrick also worked himself out of a first and third situation in the eighth without surrendering any runs. Maine stranded 13 UAlbany runners in the clash.
Chase put the game away for the Great Danes with six straight outs in the final two frames, sitting the Black Bears down in order.
Bazdanes (5-5) took the loss, throwing six and a third, allowing four runs, four hits, and struck out two.
Game one was also a tight race, consisting of four lead changes and two tie ballgames. Maine scored two runs in the top of the first, stringing together four singles.
However, UAlbany countered with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom of the second, as Nethaway and Brian Bullard hit back-to-back singles up the middle to lead things off. Nethaway scored on Jeff Welsh’s RBI groundout to short, while Bullard crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
The Danes tacked on two more runs in the third, taking a 4-2 advantage using a pair of hit batsmen, a fielding error, and Bullard’s RBI single to right field.
In the seesawing contest, Maine recaptured the lead, 5-4, with three runs in the fourth, lining a single and two triples off UAlbany starter Kasceim Graham.
The Great Danes held tight, however, locking the score, 5-5, in the bottom of the fifth when Greg Muller and Madej ripped a single up the middle and double to right, respectively.
Maine starter Tommy Lawrence and Dane reliever Kevin Archbold both tossed perfect sixths, setting up an offense-heavy seventh. Maine lined four hits, executing a hit-and-run single, plating the go-ahead. Eric White followed with a run-scoring triple, and Kevin Silva capped the rally with a two-run scoring double.
Looking to rally in their last at-bats, Tracy led off with a double to left field and scored on Muller’s RBI groundball to second. Madej drew a two-out walk, but Lawrence (9-2) forced the final groundout, preserving his complete-game win.
Archbold (1-2) took the loss, allowing three runs and four hits, while striking out one in three innings of work.
Totaling six hits as a team, Bullard led UAlbany with his 2-for-3 performance with an RBI and run scored.
The series rubber match versus Maine is set for 12:00 p.m. Sunday at Varsity Field.