SANFORD — Two on base and facing a two-strike count. That kind of pressure might be difficult for some to handle.

But Tyler Patzalek was deft when it came to handling the pressure.

Down 0-2 with runners on second and third, Patzalek sent a single up the middle to drive in both runners in the eighth inning, helping the University of Maine baseball team to an 8-3 victory Tuesday over Northeastern at Goodall Park.

“I was seeing the ball well all game and I felt pretty comfortable,” said Patzalek, a freshman third baseman. “I kind of knew a fastball was coming, so I was going to sit back and drive it up the middle. I knew if I could hit it hard somewhere, I’d find a way to score some runs. I knew those were important runs.”

Patzalek’s single drove in Taylor Lewis and Joey Martin and highlighted a four-hit, five-run inning for the Black Bears (28-19), who rallied from a 2-1 deficit.

Maine Coach Steve Trimper believed his team’s eighth inning epitomized its performance all season.

“We’ve been relentless,” Trimper said. “We came up with a word at the beginning of the year, on the first day of practice every year, and this year’s word is ‘relentless.’ The guys are reminded of it every single day. They want to be relentless and they don’t want to go down without a fight.”

Maine has seven games left in the regular season, three at home against Albany and four at Maryland-Baltimore Country, before opening the America East Tournament scheduled for May 26-30.

“We played clean baseball, and that’s the thing,” Trimper said. “If you’re going to win down the stretch, you play clean, with less walks and less errors.

“They’re important games and it was a fundamentally sound baseball game, which is nice, going into the weekend and building a positive (momentum).”

Maine took a 1-0 lead in the first on Tony Patane’s sacrifice fly to center field, which drove in Michael Fransoso after a leadoff triple.

Northeastern (11-26) tied the game in the top of the fourth as John Puttress scored from third when Jeff Dunlap grounded into a double play.

The Huskies broke the tie an inning later when Matt Miller’s sacrifice fly drove in Chris Guillemette.

Maine took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Patane looped a two-out double into left field to drive in Ian Leisenheimer and Justin Leisenheimer.

With two outs in the top of the eighth, reliever Barry Keiffer gave up a two-out triple to Northeastern’s Tony DiCesare that drove in Miller to tie the game.

“(The triple), it was a tough one,” said Keiffer, who earned the win because the run was charged to reliever Myckie Lugbauer. “It was tough to read. It was a tough play.

“But we play through it and try to make the best of the situation.”

After Patzalek gave the Black Bears a 5-3 lead, Pat Thibodeau added an RBI double, and George Tager’s single drove in two more runs.

“I thought we handled the pressure really well,” Patzalek said. “Our pitchers did a great job and didn’t walk anybody, so it made it easy for the defense to have confidence in what they were doing.

“We weren’t on our heels. The ball was put in play, which is a plus, which is what we need to do every game.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be contacted at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]