PORTLAND, Maine — It is expected to be a win-win situation Tuesday evening in Portland.
For baseball fans, the 6 p.m. game between the University of Maine and Boston College will provide them the opportunity to see the Black Bears in action in their own backyard.
For players from both teams, the contest at Hadlock Field will afford them the chance to experience a pro atmosphere, complete with the “Maine Monster,” a replica of the famous left-field wall at Fenway Park in Boston.
“We’re really excited to play in the southern part of the state,” Maine coach Steve Trimper said. “Playing an ACC school is going to be a great challenge. Coupled with that, we’re playing at a great stadium in Hadlock Field.”
Trimper explained that the Portland game was suggested by Rep. Justin Alfond, grandson of late philanthropist and UMaine benefactor Harold Alfond, during a hockey game in Orono last season. He helped facilitate the scheduling of the contest.
Trimper said Boston College has made a two-year commitment to play UMaine in Portland.
UMaine features a handful of players from southern Maine, including freshman outfielders Scott Heath of Westbrook and Sam Balzano of Portland, the 2011 Dr. John Winkin Award winner as the state’s top senior, along with junior Robbie Trask and sophomore Steve Trask of Saco.
The Black Bears baseball team has not played at Hadlock Field since 2000, when UMaine beat the University of Massachusetts 21-8.
Tuesday’s game will serve as a tune-up of sorts for the Bears, who are trying to get into a good groove heading into next week’s America East tournament. UMaine is likely to spread its innings among a handful of pitchers, since it opens a four-game series Friday against Stony Brook at Mahaney Diamond in Orono.
Among those expected to pitch for the Bears is Heath, who was a finalist for the Winkin Award last year. The lefthander has not pitched in a game since last summer, when he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left elbow.
Trimper said he will be limited to 30 pitches.
Saint Joseph’s heads Maine NCAA entries
Three teams from Maine have earned berths in the 56-team NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.
Saint Joseph’s College of Standish, the University of Southern Maine of Gorham and Bowdoin College of Brunswick all are headed for the eight-team regional at Eastern Connecticut State University in Mansfield, Conn.
The Monks (35-5), champions of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, are the No. 2 seed in the double-elimination event. The field also includes the sixth-seeded Huskies (27-17), champions of the Little East Conference, along with the Polar Bears (25-18), who are an at-large pick after finishing as the runners-up in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.
Saint Joseph’s and Bowdoin will square off in a first-round game Wednesday, while Southern Maine plays plays No. 3 seed Trinity College. The Polar Bears beat the Monks 9-4 last month.