Former University of Maine pitcher Nick Sinacola pitches for the Richmond Flying Squirrels against the Portland Sea Dogs on Tuesday in Portland. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Well before he was promoted to the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Nick Sinacola knew the team had a two-week swing to New England to play the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Portland Sea Dogs in June.

“This is one that I had marked down for sure. I was hoping I could get up here by this time and pitch here up north. The timing was perfect,” Sinacola said. “In Manchester, it was like a home game for us. We had fans louder than they did. It was awesome. Here, it was pretty packed (Tuesday). Knowing they’re here is pretty awesome. I had great support.”

In 2021 at UMaine, Nick Sinacola reached double figures in strikeouts in 11 of his 12 starts, finishing with 139 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings. University of Maine Athletics photo

An All-American pitcher at the University of Maine in 2021 and a native of North Attleboro, Massachusetts, Sinacola earned a promotion from High-A Eugene to Richmond, the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, on June 4. Tuesday’s game at Hadlock Field was his third start for the Flying Squirrels. Sinacola went five innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and a walk while striking out five.

Sinacola made his Double-A debut June 6 and struggled, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings. Last Wednesday at New Hampshire, he was much sharper, striking out eight over five scoreless innings to get the win. Sinacola left Tuesday’s game with a 4-2 lead, but the Sea Dogs rallied in the late innings for a 12-11 win.

“When he first got here, he kind of had his typical attack plan, and hitters were able to jump on him. He adjusted really quickly,” said Paul Osequera, Richmond’s pitching coach. “He’s taken each game as a learning process. Learning what will work, but also each lineup is different, each team is different. He’s going to have to adjust on the fly.”

Sinacola lowered his Double-A earned-run average by more than a run with his solid start against the Sea Dogs, from 4,82 to 3.77.


“It’s a good lineup and they make you work. You have to execute your pitches. Overall, I think it went pretty good. We worked well, me and Sugastey (catcher Adrian Sugastey). We were on the same page for a lot of pitches,” Sinacola said prior to Wednesday’s game. “We had a couple mistakes, a couple hiccups, but generally I feel like we made them work just as much as they made us work. We put ourselves in a good position to win the game.”

As a junior at Maine in 2021, Sinacola was dominant, posting a 9-3 record with a 2.04 ERA and a school-record 139 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings. Sinacola was sixth in NCAA Division I in strikeouts, and his 15.77 strikeouts per nine innings was also among the best in the nation.

The Giants chose Sinacola in the seventh round of the draft, with the 206th overall selection.

Sinacola bounced between the rotation and the bullpen at Low-A San Jose and High-A Eugene. Now, he’s firmly in Richmond’s starting rotation. The strikeouts are still coming – Sinacola has 56 in 54 2/3 innings this season. The split-fingered fastball is still a big part of his arsenal, along with a fastball and slider. In Tuesday’s start, Sinacola’s fastball topped out at 91 miles per hour. That’s a little lower than what he’s used to, he said, but noted that his velocity is creeping back up.

“That’s part of the grind of a season sometimes. You get a little out of sync, whatever adjustments you’ve got to make, and it’s good to see it’s ticking back up for him,” Osequera said.

Joining a new team at midseason can be difficult, Osequera said, but Sinacola has fit in with the Flying Squirrels.

“At whatever level, hitters are getting more disciplined. They have their own attack plan and know how to stick with it. As a pitcher, you need to learn and see how they’re trying to get to you and avoid that,” Osequera said. “He works hard and is professional about his work every single day.”

For Sinacola, continued development comes down to executing his pitches and an uptick in velocity. He’ll have another start at Hadlock in front of family and friends Sunday afternoon.

“I feel, at this level, that’s something I’ve been trying to focus on the last couple of years instead of just trying to throw the ball. I’m really trying to go out there with a plan, and execute that plan, and execute good pitches,” Sinacola said. “That’s something I feel like I’ve done a decent job with this year. I’m happy with the way that’s going.”

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