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America East Baseball News & Notes: The Season is Underway

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The college baseball season has officially begun. The road to the conference tournament in America East got started with non-conference play for five league members. The results from the first weekend were so-so. The good came from Maine and NJIT while UMass Lowell, Binghamton, and Bryant had difficult beginnings. UMBC’s season got underway on Tuesday with a slugfest loss to Delaware. It’s very early in the season, plenty of time for all of these teams to get their feet underneath them and play good baseball. Let’s take a look at the results of last weekend’s play.

The Maine Black Bears (2-1) went to Sarasota, Florida to begin the 2023 season. They played a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Panthers of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Pittsburgh took the opening game of the year by scoring in five of the nine innings played. The Black Bears pitching struggled on opening day as starter Caleb Leys did not make it out of the third inning. He allowed four earned runs on five hits, and six walks did not help his cause. Three other pitchers appeared for Maine, each giving up runs. On the offensive side of things, the Black Bears showed they can put bat to ball. The top three hitters for Maine, Jake Rainess, Quinn McDaniel, and Jeremiah Jenkins went a combined 8-for-12 with 8 RS, and seven RBI. Jenkins had a big day going 4-for-5, 4RS, 4RBI, and 2HRs. McDaniels also went deep. Games two and three saw the Black Bears come up on the winning side winning by 11-7, and 8-5 scores. A big six-run fifth keyed the Saturday win. Sebastian Holt got the win with help from Justin Baeyens getting the save. On Sunday, DH Connor Goodman had a big day at the plate going 2-for-3 with six RBI. He hit a 3-R HR in the 3rd and drove in two more in the sixth with an infield hit. Meanwhile, Gianni Gambardella came out of the Black Bears bullpen to throw three innings of four-hit, one-run baseball to get the win. A nice start for the Black Bears.

Another team that got things going in the right direction was NJIT (2-1). They took two of three from Davison last weekend. Like Maine, the Highlanders lost their opener 4-3 then came back and took the next two by a combined score of 26-10. Albert Choi had the big blow in Saturday’s win a 3-R Hr in the fourth. Cam Dillion also chipped in with a 2-for-4, 3 RBI game. On Sunday, The Highlanders put up a 10 spot in the 3rd to put the game away. Several hitters had a big afternoon. Corner infielder 3B Jared Donnelly was 2-for-4, 2RS, 5RBI. 1B Luke Longo 2-for-5, 2RS, 2 RBI. On the mound, Joe Georgini went five to get the Sunday win. He allowed 3ER, on six hits. On Saturday, freshman pitcher Adam Kidd made quite a first start going five innings of no-hit baseball. He struck out nine and walked three, throwing 80 pitches in his outing. His performance earned him America East Rookie of the Week.

UMBC (0-1) started their season on Tuesday vs the Delaware Blue Hens. The 22-11 loss was punctuated by some shaky pitching from the Retrievers. Starter Nick Remy went three innings and gave up six hits and seven earned runs. He allowed two HRs in his outing. UMBC jumped out to a 5-0 lead in this one. 1B Leewood Molessna hit a 3-R HR in the second part of a 3-for-5, 6 RBI,1RS day. He would also triple in the 6th driving in three more. 2B Anthony Swenda chipped in with a 2-for-5, 2 RBI day. Delaware’s middle of the lineup did most of the damage as they went 6-for-9, 9 RBI, and 5 RS.

The other three, the River Hawks, the Bearcats, and the Bulldogs lost their opening series of the season. The River Hawks were swept by #23 South Carolina. The Bearcats were swept by Clemson, and the Bulldogs were swept by High Point. Friday night’s loss to High Point was in extra innings as C Blake Sutton hit a grand slam HR off of Austin Warner to win the game.

Connor Goodman of the Black Bears was this week’s AE Player of the Week. In the Pittsburgh series, he had a slash line of .455/.563/ 909. He had 5 hits, 2 doubles, a home run, nine runs batted in, and two runs scored. His teammate Gianni Gambardella was the AE Rookie of the Week by pitching three innings of relief, allowing four hits and one run. He struck out four Panthers hitters in the outing.

That’s how the conference got the 2023 season underway. We will be here all season to keep you informed on what the America East conference is doing.

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