GORHAM, Maine -- Junior left-hander Nick Douglass (Poland, Maine) struck out a season-high 10 batters in 4.2 innings of shutout relief work as the top-seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies came from behind to defeat the fifth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston Beacons 5-2 in an elimination game of the 2012 Little East Conference Baseball Championship Tournament being played at the USM Baseball Stadium.
The win keeps the Huskies, 24-17, alive in the six-team, double-elimination tournament. The Beacons finished their season 18-22-1.
In the other game played Thursday, Rhode Island College staved off elimination by beating Plymouth State University 10-5. Friday's schedule of games has Keene State College playing Eastern Connecticut State University in the first game at 9:30 a.m. followed by the loser of that game playing Plymouth State University at 12:30 p.m. Southern Maine will play Rhode Island College in the final game of the day starting at 3:30 p.m.
Douglass came on in relief of senior starter Ben Ives (Portland, Maine/Deering) in the fifth inning. After serving up a single to senior Ty Buccetti (Wallingford, Conn.), Douglass got his first strikeout and Buccetti was caught stealing to end the inning.
Douglass struck out at least one batter in every inning, and struck out the side in the seventh and ninth innings. The win improved Douglass' record to 4-1.
The Beacons loaded the bases against Douglass in the eighth inning on an infield error, a single by junior Mike Consiglio (Southbury, Conn.) and a two-out walk to freshman Collin Keefer (Charlotte, N.C.). Douglass got out of the inning with a ground ball to first base with the pitcher covering.
The Beacons grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Ives on two-out RBI singles by Keefer and rookie Dominic Morbidelli (Oakland, Calif.). Ives got out of a bases loaded jam in the third with a double play, and in the fourth with a couple of good fielding plays from the Huskies defense.
Southern Maine was able to grab the lead scoring three unearned runs in the sixth inning. A two-out, bases-loaded infield error on sophomore Matt Verrier's (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) ground ball brought home one run, and sophomore Matt Powers (Portland, Maine/Deering) followed with a bad-hop single that drove in two runs.
Junior Brett Barrett (Keene, N.H.) gave the Huskies a pair of insurance runs in the seventh with a two-out single off sophomore reliever Tyler Kane (Wilbraham, Mass.). The hit plated junior Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H./Coe-Brown Northwood) who led off the inning with a double, and sophomore Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine) who was intentionally walked.
UMB starting pitcher Michael Boughton (New Britain, Conn.) took the loss. Boughton went 6.1 innings giving up eight hits and two walks. Three of the five runs charged to Boughton were unearned.
White led Southern Maine's 11-hit attack with a double and two singles. Verrier and junior Nick Grady (Whitefield, Maine/Erskine) each had two hits. Consiglio and Keefer each had a pair of safeties.
Rhode Island College 10, Plymouth State 5
Paced by rookie Dean Grasso (Cranston, R.I./LaSalle Academy), the defending champion Rhode Island College Anchormen pounded out 14 hits to stave off elimination for the tournament by defeating the Plymouth State University Panthers 10-5.
Grasso had a single, triple and home run, scored three times and knocked in three runs. Seniors Kyle Allaire (Uxbridge, Mass.), J.P. Stone (Narragansett, R.I.) and Brent Hopkins (Cranston, R.I./LaSalle Academy) and junior Cody Ortega (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola) each had two hits. Ortega also knocked in two runs.
Sophomore left-hander C.J. Tsoumakas (Hope, R.I./LaSalle Academy) went the first six innings allowing only one hits and two walks to pick up his fourth win of the season. Tsoumakas struck out five.
For the Panthers, senior Luke Merrill (Pittsburg, N.H.) had a double, single and two RBI. Merrill had the lone hit off Tsoumakas, a double, in the second inning. Senior Jonathan Bishop (Woburn, Mass.) started on the mound and took the loss. Bishop went five innings giving up nine hits and two walks while fanning two.