Friday, April 25, 2014
LOWELL, Mass. – Rain and poor field conditions forced postponement of the America East championship baseball game between top-seeded Maine and No. 2 Binghamton from Saturday afternoon to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Organizers also moved the venue from LeLacheur Park in Lowell to Bill Beck Field at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.
"An extra day gives everybody another day of rest," said Maine Coach Steve Trimper. "The most important thing is that we just played 20 innings (Friday) of baseball with 2-hour sits between games and we were at the ballpark for something like 14 or 15 hours."
The Black Bears (37-21) reached the championship game by persevering through 20 innings, two full games and part of a third Saturday in Lowell.
After losing a winners' bracket final to Binghamton (29-23) early Friday afternoon in a game suspended by rain in the seventh inning Thursday night, Maine twice staved off elimination by first beating No. 4 Stony Brook 3-1 in late afternoon and then turning back Binghamton 6-1 in an evening game that included a 36-minute interruption because of rain.
The field in Rhode Island is a FieldTurf artificial surface, similar to that of Maine's Mahaney Diamond.
"We're going to head down to Rhode Island, check into the hotel in Newport and get a real meal finally," Trimper said in a drizzle at LeLacheur Park. "We've been eating pizza and burgers and oranges for the last 48 hours because we've been at this park with so many rain delays."
Trimper said he probably wouldn't decide on a starting pitcher until Sunday.
"We have A.J. (Bazdanes) available and we have Mike Connolly available for an inning or two," he said.
When asked about ace Tommy Lawrence, who threw a complete-game shutout Wednesday and 5 1/3 more innings Friday on one day of rest, Trimper said, "Probably not Tommy, no, unless he talks me into it, but we'll see."
Saturday's game was postponed because of "weather and impending forecast," according to America East spokesman Jared Hager. "We are changing sites due to lack of field availability on Sunday because of a prior engagement (an AAU tournament)."
The winner of Sunday's game earns an automatic berth in the 64-team field of the Division I NCAA tournament, whose bracket will be announced noon Monday.