Presque Isle, ME – The University of Maine at Presque Isle Owls Baseball team (0-2) opened the season in North Carolina, taking on North Carolina Wesleyan (4-1) in doubleheader action. The Battling Bishops would run away late to win the opener 11-1 and rely on five unearned runs in the second game to win 7-2.
The Bishops would take advantage of an error in the first that would extend the inning. And a triple and single would give them a 2-0 lead. The Owls would respond in the top of the second. Ryan Sanderson (SO, Cow Bay, NS) led off the inning with a double to left. After moving to third on a base hit, he would score on a groundball to second, cutting the lead in half.
Three consecutive hits and a wild pitch in the third would extend the lead for NC Wesleyan and they would take over from there. Starting pitcher Ryan Grant (SR, Goldsboro, NC) would settle in and only allow one more hit in the game from UMPI. The Bishops would put the game out of reach with a six run sixth, and would win the game by a score of 11-1.
Grant would pitch six innings and strike out eight in the win. Tyler McLaughlin (JR, Fremont, CA) would take the loss, despite a solid performance. In four and two thirds, he would give up five runs, but only three were earned. He would strike out four and walk just two. Sanderson led the Owls offensively, going two for three with a run scored and a double.
The Owls would grab an early lead in the second game. With one out in the top of the first, UMPI set the table with a walk and a single. Sanderson would single to drive in a run, and was immediately followed by Martin Egan (FR, East Bridgewater, MA) would also line a single to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. A one out error would lead to the first run of the game for the Bishops in the first, and a two-out error in the third would cost the Owls in the second. After a single drove in a run, a walk would set up a two-RBI triple for Brad Pennington (FR, Wilmington, NC).
Once again, the NC Wesleyan starter would settle in and shut down the Owls' offense. The Battling Bishops would add insurance runs in the third, fifth, and sixth, and the Owls would have no answer. TJ Wilkie would earn the win on the mound, striking out seven in six innings of work. Saul Nunez (JR, Mapleton, ME) would take the loss for the Owls, even though only two of his seven runs surrendered were earned. Sanderson would end the game two for three with an RBI for the Owls.
UMPI will finish the three game series with NC Wesleyan tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2 PM.