The University of Maine baseball team wants to add to its 11-game winning streak and secure the No. 2 seed for next week’s America East Conference tournament.

The Black Bears (26-21, 15-5 America East) face Binghamton (20-23, 12-7) in doubleheaders today and Saturday at Mahaney Diamond in Orono.

“If we win one game, we’ll go No. 2 for the conference tournament,” said Maine Coach Steve Trimper. “We’re playing for our seeding.”

The Black Bears will also be trying to keep their winning streak alive, which Trimper said is currently the longest in Division I.

“We want to reach 30 wins,” he said.

The top-seeded team in America East gets to host the double-elimination tournament, which begins Wednesday. As of now, that would be Stony Brook (37-10, 18-2). Unless the Seawolves collapse against Albany in a pair of doubleheaders this weekend, the America East tournament will be held at Stony Brook’s new turf facility on Long Island, N.Y.

While Stony Brook and Maine are likely to be the top two seeds, Binghamton and Albany are battling for the No. 3 seed, with Binghamton holding a half-game lead. If the current standings stay the same, Binghamton and Maine would meet again in the opening round of the tournament.

Knowing his team needs only one win to secure the No. 2 seed and realizing how important pitching depth is for the conference tournament, Trimper plans to rest top pitcher Keith Bilodeau (8-2) this weekend.

“It’s a short rest for our pitching staff for the tournament,” said Trimper. “It’s very important to have everyone on our staff ready.

“Pitching has been our strong point all season. We’re going to have to pitch well and play defense.”

Trimper’s plan is to give work to his No. 2 through No. 5 starters. The Black Bears will start No. 2 Jeff Gibbs in the opener against Binghamton, with No. 3 starter Steve Perakslis pitching the second half of the game.

In the second game, No. 4 A.J. Bazdanes will start, followed by No. 5 Jonathan Balentina.

Trimper said he will start left-hander Kevin Scanlan in the first game Saturday. After Scanlan, Trimper said it will be “pitching by committee.”

The winner of the America East tourney earns a berth in an NCAA regional.

“This is what you play for,” said Trimper.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

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