Baseball drops home opener to UMaine-Farmington

Brendan Fox had three hits for Bates in Wednesday's game against Maine Farmington on April 8, 2015. (Photo by Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates baseball team's comeback bid fell just short Wednesday afternoon, as the Bobcats dropped a chilly home-opener to UMaine-Farmington, 6-4, at Leahey Field in non-conference action.

Trailing 5-0 after six innings, Bates (6-8) picked up single runs in the seventh and eighth and brought the would-be go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Farmington closer Joe Sullivan was able retire to Evan Czopek (Portland, Ore.) to end any hopes of a Bobcat victory.

Bates out-hit the Beavers 9-4, but committed five errors, three in a four-run fifth inning for Farmington (9-4), and left 11 runners on base on the day. First-year Dillon Dresser (Falmouth, Maine) started his first career game for Bates, tossing four-plus innings for the Bobcats and giving up five runs, none of them earned, while striking out two and walking three.

Connor Speed (San Diego, Calif.) tossed three scoreless innings for the Bobcats, while Sam Maliska (Palo Alto, Calif.) allowed one unearned run in one inning of work and Rob DiFranco (Melrose, Mass.) pitched a scoreless ninth.

UMaine-Farmington's Bradley Jackson (2-0) picked up the win, allowing only two hits and no runs in four innings for the Beavers, while striking out a pair. Grayson Beressi followed with two innings of scoreless relief. Offensively, Maine Farmington was led by Tom Grady, who was 2-4 with an RBI on the day.

The Beavers scored one run in the top of the second, but opened up for four runs in the top of the fifth. After two errors and a hit batter, Dresser walked Dustin McCrossin to chase home the game's second run and give Maine Farmington the 2-0 lead. Another error behind relief pitcher Connor Speed brought home two more runs, and after Speed struck out Jimmie Neal, Jordan Croteau singled to center to give the Beavers a 5-0 lead after five innings.

Bates got one of those runs back in the bottom of the seventh when Brendan Fox (West Hartford, Conn.) doubled to left-center field to push across John Dinucci (West Hartford, Conn.), who reached base on a single to center.

After tallying one run in the eighth, Dinucci started the ninth with an infield single to short, but Ryan McCarthy (Plaistow, N.H.) grounded in to the 4-6-3 double play to clear the bases. Fox kept the inning alive with a single to center field, his team-leading third hit of the day, and senior Nate Pajka (Douglas, Mass) followed with a double off the right center field to put runners at the corners.

Senior Sam Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.) kept the two-out magic going when the pitcher Sullivan overthrew first base, allowing Fox to score from third. Senior Mekae Hyde (Lewiston, Maine) laced a single up the middle to drive home Pajka and moved to second on the throw to third, putting the tying run 180 feet away. But Sullivan was able to retire Czopek to end the game.

Fox was 2-5 with one RBI and one run scored on the day while Hyde and Dinucci were both 2-4 for Bates. The Bobcats return to action on April 10th when the team travels to Colby College for a 3:00 p.m. NESCAC battle.

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