Southern Maine Sweeps #21 Eastern Connecticut 4-2 and 5-1
GORHAM, Maine -- Sophomore John Carey (South Portland, Maine) went 4 for 8 with a run scored and three RBI to help the University of Southern Maine Huskies sweep the 21st-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors, 4-2 and 5-1, in Little East Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the USM Baseball Stadium.
The sweep extended the Huskies' winning streak to a season-high seven games and improved their overall record to 23-16. By virtue of the sweep, the Huskies won the LEC regular season crown for the first time since 2009 and will host the conference's six-team, double-elimination championship tournament that will start Wednesday morning.
The Warriors, ranked 21st in the nation in this week's ABCA Division III poll, had their six-game winning snapped with the first-game loss. The Warriors finished the regular season 28-11 overall and 8-6 in LEC play. The Warriors will be the fourth seed in the upcoming tournament.
Carey had a key RBI single in the Huskies' three-run first-inning uprising in the opening game, and had a pair of RBI singles and a steal of home on a double steal in the nightcap. His steal of home in the fourth inning put the Huskies in the lead for good.
Rookie Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H.) was the Huskies only other repeat hitter in the opener getting a double and two singles.
Senior right-hander Ben Ives (Portland, Maine/Deering) picked up his eighth win of the season without a loss by going seven innings allowing 10 hits and three walks while fanning three. Junior southpaw Nick Douglass (Poland, Maine) earned his sixth save of the year going the final two innings.
In the second game, four USM hurlers combined to limit the Warriors to seven hits and one unearned run. Senior Dustin Stanton (Cornish, Maine/Sacopee Valley), the second pitcher used, picked up his first win of the season going 3.1 innings. Douglass and sophomore Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine) combined to get the final five outs. Sophomore left-hander Logan Carman (Newfield, N.H./Laurel Springs) started and went four innings giving up only one hit and the unearned run.
Carey, juniors Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H./Coe-Brown Northwood) and Brett Barrett (Keene, N.H.) and sophomore Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) each had two hits in the second game. Verrier had the only extra base hit, a double, in the game.
For Eastern Connecticut, junior Mike Riemer (Ellington, Conn./Berkshire School) led an 11-hit attack in the opener with three hits. Junior Joe Balowski (Berlin, Conn.), sophomore Danny O'Connell (Braintree, Mass.) and rookie Steve Bizzaro (Wappingers Falls, N.Y./Roy C. Ketcham) each had two hits. Senior Evan Chamberlain (Amston, Conn./RHAM) started on the hill and was saddled with the loss after lasting just one-third of an inning.
In the second game, Bizzaro and sophomore Adam Roderick (West Hartford, Conn./Conrad) had two hits. Senior right-handed starter Jim Dimon (Seymour, Conn./St. Joseph's) pitched into the seventh inning allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out four. An infield throwing error in the fourth inning resulted in two unearned runs against Dimon.
After spotting the Warriors a 1-0 lead in the opening inning when Roderick scored on a fielder's choice, the Huskies took advantage of two hit batters and three hits to push three runs across. Senior David Ricker (Winthrop, Maine) opened the inning being hit by a pitch, and Glauser followed with a single. White doubled home Ricker and sent Glauser to third. Junior Nick Grady (Whitefield, Maine/Erskine) was clipped by another Chamberlain pitch to load the bases. Chadwick brought home Glauser with a groundout, and Carey singled in White to end Chamberlain's day.
USM picked up an insurance run in the fourth as Verrier walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Glauser's double.
The Warriors got a run of Ives in the fifth to close the gap to 4-2. Balowski, sophomore T.J. Larivee (Salem, Mass.) and O'Connell strung together consecutive singles to produce a run, but Ives escaped further damage as the Huskies turned an inning-ending double play.
Douglass had an eventful two-inning save putting two Warriors aboard in each inning, but was able to get the key outs.
The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Bizzaro singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on an infield error, and scored by beating the relay throw when the Huskies left home plate unattended after putting out sophomore Kyle Tehan (Oakville, Conn./Holy Cross) during a rundown between first and second.
Carey tied the game in the fourth driving in Grady, and helped the Huskies take the lead when he and Barrett worked the double steal.
The Huskies added to their lead with a single run in the seven inning as Barrett scored on sophomore Matt Powers' (Portland, Maine/Deering) groundout. The Huskies plated two more in the eighth inning on Carey's RBI single and Barrett's successful squeeze bunt.
Douglass came on to getting an inning-ending lineout into a double play in the eighth, and Chadwick got three straight fly ball outs in the ninth to give the Huskies the sweep.