SANFORD – The challenge for the Sanford Mainers Monday night was simple: solve the Newport Gulls’ pitching staff.
The problem was doing it and as a result the Mainers’ 2013 New England Collegiate Baseball League season is over.
The Gulls’ Sean Hartnett threw six shutout innings and his bullpen slammed the door on a 4-0 win Monday night at Goodall Park to sweep the best-of-three first-round playoff.
Gulls’ reliever Kyle McGrath retired all six batters he faced.
Kyle Wilcox worked the ninth, allowing a lead-off single to Nic Wilson – Sanford’s first hit since the fourth – before getting the next three batters, stranding Wilson at third base.
It was the first time a Mainer reached third.
The Mainers went 22-23 in the regular season, winning a special one-game playoff to get the East Division’s fourth and final playoff berth.
Newport (30-14) was the class of the East behind a pitching staff with a combined 2.19 ERA.
In the series opener, Newport won 11-4 with starter Brett Graves throwing six no-hit innings.
Newport will meet the Mystic Schooners in the East Division final of the wooden-bat league, beginning Wednesday.
Starter Evan Hill took the loss, allowing three runs on three hits in the second inning, including a two-run single by his University of Michigan teammate Brett Winger to give Newport a 3-0 lead.
The Gulls added a run in the seventh.