Saturday, May 2, 2009

University of Albany Baseball Completes Four-Game Sweep of Maine in America East Action - UAlbany Sports 2009

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Senior centerfielder Dave West hit a walk-off single that scored two runs to lead UAlbany to a 6-5 comeback win over Maine in the first game of an America East Conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Varsity Field. That win, combined with an 8-2 victory in the nightcap, gave the Great Danes their second four-game sweep of a conference opponent this season and moves the team into sole possession of second place in the league standings.

Scoring in game one started quickly, with both teams hitting solo homers in the first inning. Maine got on the scoreboard first with a shot by Billy Cather over the wall in center, while UAlbany’s Gary Pitcheralle drove the ball out to left center in the bottom half of the frame. The Black Bears added a second run in the next inning on a sacrifice fly by Danny Menendez that scored catcher Joe Mercurio, who reached on a UAlbany fielding error.

The Great Danes tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third on a solo homer by Sean Donovan. Maine responded with a single run in the top of the fourth as Jarrett Lukas drove the fourth home run of the game over the right field fence to give the Black Bears a one-run lead. Maine added two more runs in the sixth. Myckie Lugbauer hit a sacrifice fly to left to advance baserunners Kevin McAvoy and Justin Leisenheimer, and McAvoy made it home on a UAlbany error. Leisenheimer scored later in the inning, getting driven home by Menendez to give the Black Bears a 5-2 advantage.

Needing a rally in the bottom of the seventh, UAlbany got it started with a double by Kyle Crean. Pete Eichner followed with an RBI single to right to score Crean and cut the Maine lead to two. Designated hitter Jim Banks drew a walk before Maine starter AJ Bazdanes was replaced on the mound by Alejandro Balsinde. Pitcheralle knocked an RBI double up the middle to score pinch runner Pete DiResta, while Donovan, who reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third. Maine intentionally walked Brendan Rowland to load the bases and allowed Balsinde to face Ryan Gugel with one out. Gugel hit into a fielder’s choice, with the Black Bears making the play at home on Donovan to keep UAlbany down by a run. West, who was 0-3 coming into his at bat, came to the plate with two outs and drove a single through the left side, sending Rowland and Pitcheralle home to give the Great Danes the win.

UAlbany starter Ryan White went five innings on the mound and struck out four in the no-decision. Closer Alexander Beaulieu earned the win with his two-inning performance, fanning one. Balsinde took the loss for Maine after replacing Bazdanes, who struck out five in six innings of work.

UAlbany jumped out to an early lead in game two and never looked back, scoring two runs in the first and third innings to take a 4-0 advantage. Gugel hit a two-run homer that scored Donovan in the first frame, while West hit an RBI single in the third to send Pitcheralle home. The Great Danes added one more in the frame as starter Keith Bilodeau walked in Rowland, who reached on a single.

Maine scored a single run in the fourth, as Menendez made it home on a passed ball. UAlbany scored single runs in the next four innings. Mike Tirri scored on a Maine fielding error in the fifth, while Donovan hit his second solo homer of the day in the sixth. Maine scored one run in the seventh, but a third solo shot, this time by Eichner, in the bottom of the frame kept the Great Danes ahead, 7-2. UAlbany added one last insurance run in the eighth, taking advantage of another Maine error that sent Pitcheralle home. Beaulieu entered in the top of the ninth to shut down the Maine hitters and give UAlbany the series sweep.

UAlbany freshman Zach Kraham earned the win with four strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work to improve to 4-2. Bilodeau took the loss for Maine (26-19, AE 9-7), allowing four earned runs while fanning two over four frames.

UAlbany (21-24, AE 13-7) will return to action on Tuesday, visiting non-conference opponent Le Moyne for a 4 p.m. start.

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