Eastern Conn. Sweeps Southern Maine, 15-9 and 8-4
GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Nick Ververis (Plainfield, Conn.) had five hits, scored five times and drove in five runs over two games as the #23/#24 Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors swept the #5/#6 University of Southern Maine Huskies, 15-9 and 8-4, in a Little East Conference doubleheader Friday to spoil Senior Day at the USM Baseball Stadium.
With the sweep, the Warriors stretch their winning streak to five games and improved their overall record to 27-7. The Huskies had their four-game winning streak stopped and slip to 28-10. The two teams finished the LEC slate with identical 11-3 records to share the regular season title. By virtue of the tiebreaker (head-to-head results), the Warriors will be the top seed and host next week's six-team, double-elimination championship tournament.
In the opening game, the Warriors jumped out to a 12-1 lead in the opening three innings taking advantage of a couple of fielding miscues for nine unearned runs. The Warriors pounded out 16 hits against seven USM hurlers.
With a one-game, winner-take-all situation for the right to host the LEC tournament, the Warriors used a timely three-run homer from Ververis to break open a tight game and held off the Huskies in the nightcap.
Ververis, senior Gavin Lavallee (New Milford, Conn.) and sophomore Tim Budd (Cheshire, Conn.) had three hits apiece for the Warriors. Every Eastern starter had at least one hit in the game. Junior Brent Pelella (Southbury, Conn.), the second of four Warrior pitchers used, picked up his fifth win of the season.
For the Huskies, sophomore Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) was just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle going 5 for 6 at the plate. It was Dexter's second five-hit game of the season. Senior John Carey (South Portland, Maine) had three hits, and classmate Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) had two hits and drove in five runs. Sophomore starter Tyler Leavitt (North Andover, Mass.) was tagged with his second loss against seven wins.
The Warriors did the big damage in the second inning sending 14 men to the plate en route to an eight-run explosion that erased a 1-0 deficit. Junior Kyle Hart (Guilford, Conn.) ignited the outburst with a two-run double down the right-field line. Lavallee had a two-run single in the frame. A costly Huskies error led to five of the runs being unearned.
Eastern added four more runs in third to as again a Huskies miscue cost the home side. Lavallee had an RBI single in the inning.
USM chipped away at the huge Warrior lead through the middle innings. Verrier had a bases-loaded double in the fifth to chase in three runs, and a two-run double as part of a three-run sixth inning that made it 15-8.
In contrast to the first game, EC senior starter Greg Porter (Mystic, Conn.) and USM sophomore Shyler Scates (Jefferson, Maine/Erskine Academy) posted zeroes through the first three innings. Porter was magnificent setting down 12 straight USM hitters to open the game, the first five via the strikeout.
Eastern reached Scates for a single double in the fourth on Hart's RBI double. The big blow in the game came in the fifth when Ververis greeted USM junior reliever Andrew Richards (South Portland, Maine) for his third homer of the season, a three-run shot over the left-center field fence.
The Warriors tacked on two runs in the sixth on senior Brendan Lynch's (Wethersfield, Conn.) two-run single to make it 6-1. USM responded with a single run in the sixth on Chadwick's RBI single.
The Huskies closed the gap to 6-4 in the seventh on a two-run single by junior Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H.).
Eastern picked up two insurance runs in the eighth as the Huskies defense committed a pair of errors.
Hart led Eastern's 12-hit attack with three hits. Lynch, Ververis and senior Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott, Conn.) had two hits apiece. Porter would go 6.1 innings to earn his sixth win of the season.
Chadwick was the lone repeat hitter for the Huskies. Scates absorbed his third loss against five wins.
The Huskies will be the number two seed in the LEC tournament that begins on Wednesday at the ECSU Baseball Stadium in Mansfield, Conn.
Prior to the start of the day's first game, the Huskies honored their seven departing seniors: Chris Bernard (Scarborough, Maine), Logan Carman (Newfields, N.H./Exeter), Nate Veilleux (Belgrade, Maine/Messalonskee), Carey, Chadwick, Thibodeau and Verrier.