NCAA National Championship Tournament - Game 12
Southern Maine Falls To Emory 15-3
APPLETON, Wis. -- The University of Southern Maine Huskies baseball team's magical run through the elimination bracket came up short Monday afternoon as the Emory University Eagles banged out 16 hits to take a 15-3 victory in Game 12 of the 2014 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship Tournament at Fox Cities Stadium.
The loss eliminated the Huskies from the eight-team, double-elimination tournament with a 2-2 mark (fourth place), and ended their season with a 37-15 record. The Huskies dropped their opening game of the tournament to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Friday before beating Salisbury (Md.) University and Baldwin Wallace University (Ohio) in elimination games.
Emory (37-12) advances to a second elimination game later today against the University of St. Thomas (Minn.). The winner of that game advances to Tuesday's championship round against UW-Whitewater needing two wins over the Warhawks to claim the national title.
Sophomore Paul Merolla (Wilton, Conn.) was the beneficiary of the Eagles' 16-hit attack. The seven-foot right-hander pitched a complete game allowing three runs on nine hits and one walk. He did not strike out a batter, and had two double plays turned behind him. The win was the fourth of the season for Merolla against one loss.
Senior Jared Kahn (Atlanta, Ga.) was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle going 3 for 4 with four RBI to lead the Eagles' offense. Junior Wes Peacock (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) went 3 for 6 with a home run and four runs scored. Rookie Phil Maldari (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had a double, single and drove in four runs.
Senior Chris Bernard (Scarborough, Maine) went 3 for 4, and freshman Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) had a pair of singles for the Huskies. Sophomore starter Shyler Scates (Jefferson, Maine/Erskine Academy), the first of eight USM hurlers used in the game, was tagged with the loss.
The Eagles jumped on Scates in the opening frame for four runs. Three straight singles produced the first run. After a sacrifice bunt move the runners to second and third, Kahn lashed a double off the glove of the diving USM infielder to bring in both runners. After USM made a pitching change, Kahn stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly from senior Jared Welch (Alpharetta, Ga.).
Southern Maine cut the deficit in half in the third inning. With no outs and the bases loaded, senior Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine) was hit by a pitch to force a run across. A big play for Emory occurred when the next batter, senior Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills), lashed a line drive was caught by Kahn for an unassisted double play. The Huskies would get another run on Bernard's single, but the possible big inning did not materialize as Merolla escaped further damage getting a fielder's choice.
Peacock hit a solo home run in the fifth off USM junior reliever Alex Tobey (South Berwick, Maine/Berwick Academy). That would be the only run Tobey would give up in fourth innings of solid relief work.
The Eagles tacked on an unearned run in the sixth inning, and blew the game open with five markers in the seventh. Kahn picked up an RBI when he walked with the bases loaded, and Maldari drove in two with his double during the seventh-inning outburst.
Emory added a pair of runs in the eighth and ninth innings while the Huskies scored a lone run in the eighth. The Huskies' run came when Chadwick, in his final career at bat, doubled into the right field corner. The double was the 100th extra-base hit (51-22-27) of his career. Chadwick was replaced by sophomore pinch runner Nick DiBiase (Portland, Maine/Deering) who later scored when Bernard singled to right.
With one out in the ninth, USM head coach Ed Flaherty went to the mound and in a tribute to the five seniors who were on the field - Verrier, Bernard, 1B John Carey (South Portland, Maine), 3B Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) and LHP Logan Carman (Newfields, N.H./Exeter) - substituted for them to a well-deserved acknowledgement from the USM fans. The last of USM's seven seniors, RHP Nathan Veilleux (Belgrade, Maine/Messalonskee), came on for Carman to get the final two outs.