1991 & 1997 NCAA Division III National Champions

Huskies Drop Two at Wheaton, 8-6 and 5-3

Senior Tom Fortier delivers a pitch (file photo by Cheryl Nash).
Senior Tom Fortier delivers a pitch (file photo by Cheryl Nash).

Huskies Drop Two at Wheaton, 8-6 and 5-3

            NORTON, Mass. -- The University of Southern Maine baseball dropped both ends of a non-conference doubleheader to the Wheaton College Lyons Sunday afternoon at Sidell Stadium.  The Lyons came from behind to win the opening game 8-6, and rallied from a three-run deficit to take the nightcap 5-3.

            The sweep extended the Lyons' winning streak to four games, and improved their overall record to 10-6.  The double dip stretched the Huskies' losing streak to three games, and dropped them back to .500 at 7-7 overall. 

Game One

            The Huskies took advantage of a pair of three-run innings to build a 6-0 lead before the Lyons rallied in the seventh and eighth innings to take the win.

            Southern Maine grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning scoring three unearned runs.  Sophomore Kip Richard (Kennebunk, Maine) delivered classmate Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) with the first run with a sacrifice fly.  Quintal had reached on an infield error.  Senior Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) and sophomore Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) had back-to-back RBI singles to drive in the other two runs.

            In the fourth, the Huskies doubled their lead with another three-run rally.  Warren drove in sophomore Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) with a double, and later scored on a Quintal single.  Quintal came home with the third run on another infield error.

            Wheaton tallied four runs in the seventh against USM sophomore starter Dalton Rice (Waterford, Maine/Oxford Hills) and sophomore reliever Matt Correale (Peabody, Mass.).  Rice had cruised through the first six innings before the Lyons came up with three straight two-out hits to score three runs.  Sophomore pinch hitter Jimmy Gianquitti (North Scituate, Mass.) greeted Correale with a single to score sophomore Jared Sharkey (West Bridgewater, Mass.) with the fourth run of the frame.

            In the eighth, the Lyons pulled within one when senior Josh LaJoie (Somers, Conn.) stroked an RBI double down the left-field line.  A costly infield error allowed the tying run to score.  After a groundout for the second out of the inning, junior Matt Cook (Harwich, Mass.), who went into the field for Gianquitti, grounded a single through the left side to bring in the decisive runs.

            LaJoie led the Lyons' 13-hit attack going 4 for 5, including two doubles, and two RBI.  Rookie Nick Raposo (Johnston, R.I.) had three hits and two RBI.  Dexter was 3 for 4 for the Huskies.  McDonough and rookie Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine) each had two hits.

            Junior Jimmy Gowan (Brielle, N.J.) picked up the win with 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Gowan allowed three hits and one walk. He did not strike out a batter.  Freshman Paul McGeehan (Winchester, Mass.) earned the save with a scoreless ninth inning.

            Rice got a no decision after allowing three runs on nine hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings.  Rice fanned seven.  Dexter was tagged with the tough-luck loss. 

Game Two

            Playing as the home team in the nightcap, the Huskies built a 3-0 lead with a single run in the first and two more in the sixth before the Lyons struck for five runs in the seventh inning.

            Quintal led off the USM first with a double and came around to score on two groundball outs.

            In the sixth, junior Sam Stauble (Harrison, Maine/Bridgton Academy) reached on an infield error, and Hapworth followed with a double.  McDonough's ground ball was booted for another error allowing Stauble and Hapworth to score.  Both runs were unearned.

            Staked to the 3-0 lead, senior southpaw Tom Fortier (Falmouth, Maine) struggled in the seventh loading the bases on two walks and a LaJoie single.  Sophomore Jack Donnelly (Walpole, Mass.) took over for Rice to get the first out, but Sharkey took a Donnelly offering out of the park to left field for a grand slam homer and a 4-3 Wheaton lead.  Sophomore Tyler Walsh (Cumberland, R.I.) followed with a single to end Donnelly's brief outing, and senior Zach Goodwin-Boyd (Florence, Mass.) drove a double to left-center field off Correale to score Walsh.

            The Huskies put the first two men on in the eighth on back-to-back singles from senior Matt Bender (Walpole, Mass.) and Stauble, but junior reliever Joe Bongiovanni (Johnston, R.I.), who came on in the seventh inning, ended the threat getting the next three hitters.

            LaJoie, Raposo, Walsh and Goodwin-Boyd had two hits apiece for the Lyons.  Bongiovanni earned the win hurling three shutout innings.  Quintal was the lone repeat hitter for the Huskies banging out three hits.  Donnelly took the loss. 

Up Next

            Southern Maine is scheduled to play its home opener on Wednesday (4:00 p.m.) hosting Bowdoin College.  Wheaton will host NEWMAC foe Clark University on Tuesday (3:30 p.m.).