Looking outside right now it’s hard to comprehend that the UMaine baseball season starts tomorrow. The Black Bears will be heading south, to South Carolina to be exact, for three games against Winthrop. Maine will play 16 games on the road before they attempt to play at Mahaney Diamond March 28.
To me this looks like a pivotal season for UMaine. Last year the Black Bear Baseball team won just 15 games and finished with an overall record of 15-34. That was the program’s worst final record in four decades.
Program defenders point out that last year Maine played a brutal non conference schedule featuring a handful of nationally ranked teams including two top ten teams.
Thats fair. Although given the current state of baseball in Orono, and perhaps the northeast as a whole, that kind of scheduling is simply unwise.
The years slate looks more managable.
One matchup of note is the St. Patrick’s Day game at Stetson. The Hatters are coached by former Black Bear boss Steve Trimper and went they went deep into the postseason last year.
This is an intriguing year for Maine’s fourth year head coach Nick Debra. In his first three years he has compiled a 60-97 record. Each season the win total has experienced slow shrinkage.
Given another year of experience and a more realistic schedule for this program, I expect the win total to be a bit higher than last year. We’ll see if the Black Bears make any noise in the conference and the post season.
We won’t know that until some of this snow and ice is long gone.