KEENE, N.H. -- Junior left-hander Nick Douglass (Poland, Maine) struck out 13 batters in 5.2 innings to earn the win in relief in both games as the University of Southern Maine swept Keene State College, 9-6 and 6-3, in a Little East Conference baseball doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
The sweep improved the Huskies' overall record to 19-16, and moved them into first place in the LEC standings with a 9-3 mark with one week to play. The Owls fell out of first place and are now 26-11 overall and in a three-way tie for second place at 8-4.
Douglass came on in relief of starter Ben Ives (Portland, Maine/Deering) in the opening game to pitch three innings allowing one hit and two walks while striking out six. In the nightcap, the 5-foot-9 southpaw came on in the seventh inning for sophomore starter Logan Carman (Newfields, N.H./Laurel Springs) to go 2.2 innings surrendering one hit and two walks while fanning seven.
In the opener, the Huskies built an early 4-0 lead scoring three times in the first on a leadoff home run by senior David Ricker (Winthrop, Maine) and a two-run double by junior Brett Barrett (Keene, N.H.), and a single tally in the second on an RBI single from rookie Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H.).
The Owls chipped away against Ives until tying the game 6-6 in the seventh when junior Greg Bates (Salem, N.H.) scored on a Douglass wild pitch. Earlier in the game, senior Erik Bergstrom (Enfield, Conn./Enrico Fermi) hit a two-run homer in the third inning, and sophomore Nick Vita (Spofford, N.H./Keene) had a two-run single in the sixth.
USM junior Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H./Coe-Brown Northwood) broke the tie in the eight with a two-run single. The Huskies added an insurance run in the ninth on a solo home run by sophomore Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine). The home run was the second of the game for Chadwick.
Keene State put runners at second and third with one out in the eighth, but Douglass got out of trouble with a strikeout and a groundout.
The nightcap saw a different scenario as the Huskies had to come from behind. The Owls scored two in the first on a sacrifice fly by senior Peter Burgio (Bolton, Conn.) and an RBI single from senior Larry Longo (Londonderry, N.H./Deerfield). The game remained that way until the sixth when Ricker hit a two-run homer.
Senior Kyle Morrill (Auburn, N.H./Memorial) restored the Owls lead in the home half of the inning with a solo home run off Carman.
In the eighth, the Huskies tied the game on Ricker's sacrifice fly, and took the lead for good on White's two-run home run. The Huskies added an insurance run in the ninth when sophomore John Carey (South Portland, Maine) led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice, and scored on a squeeze bunt by sophomore Matt Powers (Portland, Maine/Deering).
Douglass got himself into a jam in the eighth inning loading the bases with no outs. He got out of the inning without a run scoring with two strikeouts and a fly ball. He fanned the side in the ninth to collect his third win of the season.
The Huskies travel to Bowdoin College on Tuesday (4:00 p.m.) for a non-conference game. The Owls will host nationally ranked Wheaton College on Sunday (3:00 p.m.).