ORONO — Nothing went right for the Maine baseball team Saturday. Pitchers got rocked, hitters flailed away, and, worst of all, spirits sagged.

Binghamton handed the Black Bears 6-1 and 8-1 defeats in an America East-opening doubleheader before an announced crowd of 356 at sunny but chilly Mahaney Diamond.

In both games, Maine (5-17, 0-2 America East) broke up shutouts with late solo home runs that did nothing to alleviate the feeling that this is a team in disarray, having lost 13 of its last 15 outings.

“I’d like to see us play with more passion as a whole,” senior catcher Kevin Stypulkowski said. “When we get down early in the games not to have that affect our attitudes. You shouldn’t be able to tell what the scoreboard is by looking in the dugout. And I think (Saturday) you kind of could after we got down a couple runs.”

Both losses followed the same pattern. The Bearcats (6-14, 2-0) broke open the first game with a six-run fifth inning that included a wild pitch, a passed ball, a hit batter and a throwing error.

Maine, meanwhile, could do nothing against Binghamton starter Jake Cryts, who threw seven shutout innings, scoring only when freshman third baseman Danny Casals hit an eighth-inning homer off Bearcats reliever Dylan Stock.

In the nightcap, Black Bears ace Justin Courtney didn’t have his normal command. He gave up 10 hits, walked three and yielded five runs in the fifth and sixth innings to create a hole that his offense had no chance of digging out from. Stypulkowski’s seventh-inning home run was the only bright spot.

Binghamton starter Mike Bunal pitched all seven innings, striking out 10. Cryts and Bunal entered the doubleheader winless with ERAs north of 7.00.

Maine entered the series with a paltry .239 batting average, and managed only nine hits in 16 innings against the Bearcats.

Casals and Stypulkowski combined for six of them.

“The game is the same game we’ve been playing since we were little. Hit the ball, catch the ball, make left turns,” Casals said. “It’s nothing different.

“We can’t get that big hit. That’s what we’re having trouble with.”

Maine Coach Steve Trimper said he’s confident his team will start hitting better. It was the pitching that frustrated him Saturday. He had a long discussion with that group after the losses.

“They were up in the zone and we’re a lot better pitchers than doing that three times in a row,” he said of first-game starter Jonah Normandeau, Courtney and reliever Charlie Butler. “It’s going to happen once, it’s going to happen even twice. But if I go in to the bullpen with these guys they get all upset and start dropping four-letter words when they make one pitch up. Now going into the game and we’re not making that adjustment to get down. And that’s where the game got away from us.”

Binghamton hit three home runs in the second game and struck out only five times in the doubleheader.

Trimper, in his 11th season as Maine coach, is in the final year of his contract. His teams have frequently gotten off to slow starts against higher-level competition only to rally once conference play begins.

But never have they faced such an uphill battle. The series concludes with a 1 p.m. game Sunday before the Black Bears host defending league champion Stony Brook next weekend. Some wins need to come soon.

Even a freshman can sense that.

“In baseball, you’re going to fail,” Casals said. “But right now I feel like we’ve hit rock bottom. We’re a much better team than this. We all know we’re pretty good.”


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