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Black Bears close in on America East top seed

Players said earning a bye in the America East Tournament would be huge
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 1:13 PM EDT
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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - Maine baseball is riding a 13-game winning streak, and needs just two America East wins in its last nine conference games to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming tournament.

Players said earning a bye in the America East Tournament would be huge
Players said earning a bye in the America East Tournament would be huge(WABI)

The Black Bears said earning a bye in the America East Tournament would be huge.

“Having to win that extra game is always tough. Having your best guy go against the other team’s No. 2 pitcher is a huge thing for us,” said Joe Bramanti, graduate student infielder.

Maine’s starting pitching depth can be an asset.

“Pounding the strike zone, letting our defense work, and keeping our offense in the game is our biggest strength. All three of us starting pitchers have really grown into our own roles,” said Brett Erwin, graduate student pitcher.

“Caleb Leys, Brett Erwin, and Trevor Labonte have been awesome for us. They’ve been keeping us in games. That’s all they need to do, really. They don’t need to go out there and get us a shutout every game. They need to give us a chance, a five-run cushion, and I think we’re going to score six or seven runs a game,” said Jordan Schulefand, graduate student outfielder/pitcher.

Jeremiah Jenkins has remained red hot, earning another conference rookie of the week award.

“This month specifically I started to get a lot more fastballs. I was telling myself ‘just don’t miss the fastball and spit on the off-speed.’ When I see a pitch I can drive, just drive it,” said Jenkins, freshman infielder.

The team is close to the league’s top spot, but the rest of the regular season still has value, like knowing how to play in close games, according to Head Coach Nick Derba.

“I want to see us start playing cleaner games. We really haven’t been playing our best baseball, at least I hope we haven’t. We’re going to have to rely on the little things,” said Derba.

Maine’s looking strong with three conference series to go. Maine will be up against UMass Lowell, UAlbany, and Hartford in those last three America East series.

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