KEENE, N.H. -- The University of Southern Maine bats came alive Friday afternoon for 31 hits as the Huskies swept the Keene State College Owls in a Little East Conference baseball doubleheader at the Owl Athletic Complex, 13-1 in seven innings and 8-3.
The sweep lifts the Huskies' record to 26-8 overall and 11-1 in conference play. The Owls fall to 8-18 overall and 2-10 in LEC action. The losses eliminate the Owls from contention for the Little East Conference tournament. The doubleheader was originally scheduled to be play Saturday, but was move up a day due to the poor weather forecast for the weekend.
In the opening game, sophomore Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) went 4 for 5 with a double and home run to lead a 17-hit assault. The game was stopped after seven innings on the 10-run rule. Senior Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI as the Huskies took the nightcap.
The Huskies pounded four KSC hurlers for 17 hits in the shortened game. Sophomore Nick DiBiase (Portland, Maine/Deering) had a double and two singles, and rookie Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) and seniors John Carey (South Portland, Maine) and Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) each had a pair of hits.
Sophomore southpaw Tyler Leavitt (North Andover, Mass.) was the beneficiary of the offensive support earning his seventh win of the season against one loss. Leavitt went 6.1 innings allowing only the one run on two hits and three walks while fanning four. Leavitt and junior reliever Dylan Morris (Bangor, Maine) combined to limit the Owls to just three singles.
Senior right-hander Shawn Egan (East Hartford, Conn./East Catholic) went the first five innings on the mound for the Owls and took the loss. Egan allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks. He struck out two.
Dexter started the scoring in the first inning scoring an unearned run on an infield error. Carey and Dexter combined to make it 3-0 in the third inning when they hit back-to-back homers.
After scoring twice more in the sixth, the Huskies brought the 10-run rule into play scoring five times in the seventh to make it 13-0. Verrier had a two-run double to ignite the outburst. McDonough and Carey also had RBI in the inning.
Keene State tallied its lone run in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single by sophomore Vinny Parilla (Londonderry, N.H.).
Verrier had the hot bat in the nightcap notching his second four-hit game of the season, including his fifth round tripper of the season. McDonough, Chadwick and Thibodeau had two safeties apiece.
Sophomore Joe Libby (Hooksett, N.H./Trinity), junior Matt Boulay (Stafford Springs, Conn./East Catholic), rookie Trevor Chapin (Northfield, N.H./New Hampton) and Parilla all had two hits in the nightcap as the Owls touched USM pitching for 11 hits.
Junior right-hander Andrew Richards (South Portland, Maine) picked up his third win for the Huskies going 4.2 innings in relief. Richards shut down an Owls' rally in the fifth with a strikeout, and did not give up a run over the final four frames. He allowed only two hits and no walks while fanning four.
Sophomore Cody Dube (Windham, Maine) took the loss. Dube worked 7.1 innings allowing all eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits and two walks. He struck out four.
The Huskies got the early jump on Dube scoring four times in their first turn at bat. Bernard delivered the first run with a sacrifice fly. Verrier followed with a two-run double, and junior Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H.) brought Verrier home with a single.
The Owls closed the gap to 4-3 in the fifth inning against USM sophomore starter Shyler Scates (Jefferson, Maine/Erskine Academy). Parilla and Chapin set the table with a single and double respectively. Junior Tanner Chase (York, Maine) drove in Parilla with a sacrifice fly, and Libby doubled home Chapin. Libby scored on Boulay's single that ended Scates afternoon on the hill. Richards came on to get a strikeout for the final out of the inning.
The Huskies picked up an insurance run in the sixth on Verrier's RBI double. Verrier hit a two-run homer his next time up in the eighth inning to make it 7-3. The Huskies added an unearned run after the Verrier homer as Glauser reached on a two-base infield error and scored on a Thibodeau single.
The Huskies are off until Tuesday (4:00 p.m.) when they will travel to Brunswick, Maine, to face Bowdoin College. The Owls will be at Daniel Webster College on Sunday (2:00 p.m.).