PLYMOUTH, N.H. -- The nationally ranked University of Southern Maine Huskies baseball team pounded out 27 combined hits as they swept the Plymouth State University Panthers, 8-7 and 12-9, in a Little East Conference doubleheader at Panther Park Saturday afternoon.
With the sweep, the Huskies have now won 19 straight games and improve to 25-3 overall and 7-0 in the conference. The Panthers have now lost four straight and drop to 14-15 and 3-6 in the conference.
Junior Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine) went 4-for-10 with three RBI and two runs scored, while also earning saves in both games to lead Southern Maine. Junior Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) was 5-for-10 with three runs scored in the two games, and junior Nick Grady (Whitefield, Maine/Erskine Academy), who extended his current hitting streak to 25 games, went 4-for-10 with three RBI and a run scored.
Junior southpaw Logan Carman (Newfields, N.H./Laurel Springs) pitched seven solid innings giving up five runs — four earned — on seven hits while striking out four to earn the win and improve to 7-0 on the season. Sophomore right-hander Andrew Richards (south Portland, Maine) relieved Carman in the eighth and pitched 1.1 innings before Chadwick got the final two outs for his second save of the season.
Senior Anthony Pisani (Cheshire, Conn./Notre Dame) led the Huskies at the plate going 2-for-4 with a game-high four RBI and a run scored. Chadwick went 3-for-5, including two doubles and a triple, and two RBI. Junior Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) went 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Plymouth sophomore right-hander Cody Gilchrist (Tyngsboro, Mass./Bishop Guertin), who went five innings giving up five earned runs on 10 hits, was tagged with the loss and drops to 2-2 on the season.
The Huskies raced out to a 6-0 lead thanks to a four-run second inning and two more runs in the third. Pisani doubled through the right side to score Verrier and senior John Carey (South Portland, Maine) putting the Huskies up 2-0. Chadwick drove junior Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) and Pisani around with his triple to give the Huskies the 4-0 lead.
The next inning, junior Chris Bernard (Scarborough, Maine) reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, advanced to third on another fielder's choice, and stole home to increase the Southern Maine lead to 5-0. Two batters later Pisani singled home Verrier to put the Huskies up 6-0.
Plymouth answered with two runs in the bottom half of the third on a two-RBI double by senior Ryan McIntosh (Lincoln, N.H./Lin-Wood) to cut the Southern Maine lead to 6-2.
After each team scored a run in the fourth, the Huskies put another run across in the fifth when Verrier scored on a Pisani groundout to increase the lead to 8-3.
The Panthers chipped away as they would get a run back in the sixth on a home run by junior Brandon Cox (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South), and three more in the eighth on RBI singles by sophomore Brian Thompson (Southington, Conn.), senior Dave Tammaro (Cheshire, Conn.), and sophomore Dan Armstrong (Danville, N.H./Timberlane) to cut Southern Maine's lead to 8-7.
Chadwick came on to get the last two outs and earn the save.
McIntosh was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a run scored, and Cox was 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Tammaro finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and Armstrong also added two hits.
Thibodeau went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, and freshman Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) was 1-for-3 with four RBI as Southern Maine won a slugfest.
Grady finished 3-for-6 with a homer, two RBI and a run scored. Senior Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H./Coe-Brown Northwood) was 2-for-6 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Pisani added two hits and a run scored. Chadwick continued his hot bat by hitting his third home run in the last four games, a solo shot in the first inning.
Senior right-hander Ryan Yates (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) pitched 5.1 innings giving up seven runs — six earned — on nine hits while striking out four to earn improve to 4-0. Richards came on for Yates with one out in the sixth and pitched 2.1 innings of two-hit ball before handing it off to Chadwick once again. Chadwick pitched the final 1.1 innings striking out four to earn his third save of the season.
Plymouth State senior Steve Beard (Middleton, Mass./Masconomet Regional) led the Panthers at the plate going 3-for-5, including two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored. Armstrong was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, and senior Brendon Cosgrove (Merrimack, N.H.) went 1-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Sophomore right-hander Josh Young (Somersworth, N.H.), who went 2.0 inning giving up nine runs — five earned — on nine hits, was tagged with the loss and drops to 1-2.
After each team scored in the first on homers by Chadwick for the Huskies and Beard for the Panthers, the Huskies piled on seven runs in the second on five hits and one Plymouth error. Dexter ignited the scoring with a three-run double, and White followed two batters later with an RBI single to extend the lead to 5-1. After White stole second, he advanced to third and Chadwick scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-1. Bernard then hit an RBI double to score White, and Carey singled to left to knock in Bernard, giving the Huskies the 8-1 lead.
The Panthers got a run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Beard, but the Huskies answered with a single run in the third on a sacrifice fly by White to bump the lead back to seven, 9-2.
Plymouth wasn't done as they added two runs in the fourth on Cosgrove's two-run homer, and one more in the fifth to cut the Southern Maine lead to 9-5.
Grady put another run on the board for the Huskies with a solo home run, and Dexter was credited with an RBI after he walked with the bases loaded to increase the lead to 11-5.
Plymouth fought back once again as it plated two more in the sixth on Beard's second home run of the game to cut the lead to 11-7.
USM went up 12-8 on an RBI double by Grady in the seventh, but Plymouth chipped away with two more runs in the bottom of the inning to cut it to 12-9.
Chadwick replaced Richards with two outs in the eighth and struck out four of the five batters he faced to finish things off for USM.
Southern Maine returns to the field when they host Wheaton (Mass.) College in a battle of nationally ranked teams at USM Baseball Stadium on Sunday (1:00 p.m.). Plymouth State travels to Colby-Sawyer College for a non-conference doubleheader (12:00 p.m.).