If there is a developing story coming out of the America East tourney, it could be the Maine Black Bears who for the third straight game faced elimination and came away with the win. This time over the top seed in the event Binghamton 8-4.
The Black Bears jumped out of the gate with a three-run first and they got some help from Binghamton’s defense in the form of two errors that led to runs. By end of the inning, Maine had a 3-0 lead, versus one of the conferences’ better hurlers in Jacob Wioczewski, who struggled during his time on the mound.
Maine made an interesting choice in their starting pitcher going with Junior John Arel who has only thrown 19 innings this year. The hope was he could get them to the middle of the game with a chance to win and that he did.
Arel did have to get himself out trouble in his outing as he gave up a run in the third via a walk and an infield single that put Binghamton in business. Pat Britt then came through with a single to right field scoring Eddie Posavec to get his team on the board down 3-1 after three.
The Black Bears got that run back in the top of the fourth against Wioczewski. With one out, he hit leadoff hitter Jeremy Pena and he would score on a double to left field by catcher Christopher Bec who has been a force both at the plate and behind it. The RBI was his 25th and the double was his 19th of the year. 4-1 Maine.
Binghamton finally took advantage of Arel in the fifth inning. Back to back walks plus a wild pitch set them up with second and third with no outs. It forced Black Bears head coach Nick Derba to make a pitching change, so out was Arel in was Connor Johnson who would give up consecutive sac flies to make it a one-run ballgame at 4-3 through five.
A scary moment took place in the Maine half of the sixth, as Wioczewski took a line drive off the ankle from Pena. He had to be helped off the field by teammates and there was no word on his injury at press time.
Maine busted the game wide open in the ninth as Bec again got things started with his second double of the game this one down the right field line. After a single and BB loaded the bases against Conference Pitcher of the Year Nick Wegmann, who replaced the starter after his injury. Herman Sardinas singled to plate one run, then Caleb Kerbs cleared the bases with a double to the left field wall. The two-bagger was his fourth of the year and he now has 30 RBI for the season. 8-3 Maine.
The Black Bears bullpen did its job after the game became a one-run affair, shutting down the top seed the rest of the way. The win gave them the chance to move on and face Albany for a spot in Sunday’s championship game against UMBC.
Connor Johnson got the win for Maine and Cody Laweryson picked up the save. Wioczewski suffered the defeat.
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