PORTLAND — Shortstop Michael Fransoso of the University of Maine grew up just over the border in Portsmouth, N.H.

Before Tuesday, his only visit to Hadlock Field came as a 7-year-old, when his father brought him to a Portland Sea Dogs game.

“I remember an ice cream sandwich,” Fransoso said of the ballpark’s signature Sea Dogs biscuit. “Best (one) I’ve ever had.”

Fransoso added a few inedible – if not indelible – memories Tuesday night with three hits, three runs and extraordinary defense in a 9-4 victory against Boston College.

Fransoso had a hand – gloved or not – in 11 of the 27 outs recorded by the Black Bears before a crowd of 1,671 on a rainy evening.

“To play on a field like that,” he said, “it didn’t take much for everyone to get the adrenaline going.”

Fransoso led off the home first with a double and scored on Tyler Patzalek’s sacrifice fly for a lead Maine held through five innings.

Another run in the second – with help from a single by Deering High grad Sam Balzano – made it 2-0.

Boston College turned things around in the sixth on one pitch, the 102nd and last thrown by Maine starter Mike Connolly. Andrew Lawrence drove a hanging curve into the home bullpen above the second tier of billboards in right field for a three-run homer and a 3-2 advantage.

That was also the last Eagle hit of the game. Left-handed submariner Jonathan Balentina (2-0) of Curacao relieved and shut down the Eagles until giving way to freshman Scott Heath of Westbrook in the ninth. Heath moved over from first base for his first collegiate appearance on the mound.

“A little nervous out there,” said Heath, 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. “I struggled with my control a little bit but I made some good pitches. It was awesome coming back (to Hadlock).”

Heath walked two and Boston College scored an unearned run on an error before the Black Bears (26-22) closed the game by totaling seven runs in their final two at-bats.

“Playing here is special to our program and it was a great crowd on a rainy night,” said Maine Coach Steve Trimper, who praised the Sea Dogs’ staff and grounds crew. “We’re going to be playing BC here the same time next year. Hopefully we can have a bigger crowd and another great experience.”

The Black Bears hadn’t visited Hadlock since 1998 and hadn’t played BC since 2005.

“Two Division I programs meeting in the middle, what could be better?” said Eagles catcher Matt Pare.

For Pare, the game was a homecoming. As Matt Watson, he caught for the 2008 Class A state title Deering High team as a junior before moving to Florida for his senior year.

The name change – his mother grew up as Kim Pare – came in September.

“Just some family stuff that happened,” he said. “It was a good change. It feels right and I’m really happy about it.”

Boston College has another former Deering player, Nick Colucci. He made the trip but as a redshirt freshman didn’t play.

Westbrook’s Heath delivered an RBI double in Maine’s four-run eighth. He was also intentionally walked to load the bases with one out in the seventh and BC clinging to a 3-2 lead.

Alex Calbick followed with a chopper up the middle that skittered off the glove of BC second baseman Blake Butera and into center field, allowing two runs to score and giving Maine the lead for good.

“When it left the bat I was thinking, ‘Gotta get down the line (to prevent) a double play,’ ” Calbick said. “But it took a scoot and a lucky hop for us.”

Fran Whitten and Brian Doran followed with RBI singles, and Calbick added a two-run double in the eighth as Maine outhit BC, 13-7.

The Black Bears end their regular season this weekend in Orono with four games against Stony Brook in advance of the America East tournament next week on Long Island.

“This was a great tuneup,” Fransoso said. “Stony Brook is a team exactly like BC. They’ve got high quality.”

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH