USM Sweeps Western Conn., Clinches LEC Regular Season Title
DANBURY, Conn. -- The University of Southern Maine baseball team clinched its fourth outright Little East Conference regular season title on Sunday by sweeping Western Connecticut State University at Westside Field. The Huskies won the opener 10-0 before taking the nightcap 15-2 in seven innings.
The sweep extends the Huskies latest winning streak to four games and improves their record to 29-6 overall and 11-1 in LEC play. The Huskies have won the LEC regular season title the past two seasons, and three times in the last five seasons. In addition to their four outright regular season titles, the Huskies have also shared the regular season crown on four other occasions.
The Colonials have dropped their last three games to fall to 13-21 overall and 3-9 in the conference.
In the opener, senior John Carey (South Portland, Maine) and junior Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) combined for five hits, including two home runs, and five RBI to pace a 16-hit USM attack. Freshman southpaw Tyler Leavitt (North Andover, Mass.) pitched eight shutout innings allowing only five hits and two walks while striking out five to earn his fourth win of the season.
Senior Nick Grady (Whitefield, Maine/Erskine Academy) went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI in the nightcap to lead the Huskies' 15-hit attack. Sophomore Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H.) also had a pair of hits, including a three-run homer, and drove in five runs. Sophomore Andrew Richards (South Portland, Maine) earned his fourth win of the season with four innings of shutout relief work.
Southern Maine took a 3-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back. Verrier plated the final two runs with his second home run of the season. The first run scored on a double steal executed by Grady (scoring) and Carey.
Leavitt got out of a first and second, no-out situation in the home half of the second inning getting two fly ball outs after a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up. The rookie left-hander settled down to retire 11 straight Colonials between the fourth through eighth innings.
The Huskies tacked on a run in the third when freshman Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) doubled, stole third and came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of senior Anthony Pisani (Cheshire, Conn./Notre Dame). Dexter finished the game going 3-for-5.
USM sent nine men to the plate in the fourth inning to increase its lead to 8-0. Verrier had an RBI double and Pisani had an RBI single in the outburst.
Carey, who went 3-for-4 and scored three times, added the final two runs with a two-run homer in the ninth inning.
Junior Jeff John (Trumbull, Conn.) had a pair of singles and a walk for the Colonials. Senior starting pitcher Conor Bierfeldt (Torrington, Conn.) went eight innings and was tagged with the loss.
The Huskies grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Pisani hit his first home run of the season. The Colonials responded against the Huskies freshman right-handed starter Sean Murphy (Westbrook, Maine) scoring their only two runs of the day on a wild pitch and an RBI fielder's choice from junior Bobby Coyne (Clinton, Conn.).
Richards took over on the hill in the second inning and pitched four scoreless innings allowing only two hits and an intentional walk.
The Huskies took the lead for good scoring seven runs in the third inning. Carey brought the first run home with a bunt single. After a single by junior Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) loaded the bases, senior Zach Fernandes (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) delivered an RBI single and Glauser followed with a two-run single to make it 5-2. The fifth run of the inning scored on a double play, and Grady capped off the rally with a two-run single.
USM brought the 10-run rule into play with four runs in the sixth inning on Thibodeau's RBI single and Glauser three-run homer to left field. USM tacked on three insurance runs in the seventh on an RBI double from freshman pinch hitter Nick DiBiase (Portland, Maine/Deering) and two wild pitches.
John was the only Western Connecticut player with two hits in the nightcap. He finished the twin bill going 4-for-5 with a walk and a sacrifice. Starter Zach Philippas (Seymour, Conn.), the first of five hurlers used by the Colonials, took the loss.
Southern Maine begins the final week of the regular season with a non-conference home game on Tuesday (4:00 p.m.) against Bowdoin College. Western Connecticut will be in action tomorrow (3:30 p.m.) when it travels to Ramapo College.