SALEM, Mass. – Freshman Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine) went 3-for-4 at the plate, including a home run, driving in three runs and scoring four to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 15-8 victory over the Salem State University Viking Friday afternoon at Central Campus Baseball Field. Hapworth struck for one of three Huskies home runs as part of an 18-hit offensive explosion in the win.
The win is the second straight for Southern Maine, improving its record to 9-7. The loss drops Salem State to 9-10. The Huskies used eight different pitchers in the victory. Senior Alex Tobey (South Berwick, Maine/Berwick Academy) (1-0) picked up the win in relief for USM, firing 3.2 innings. Tobey allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk, and picked up four strikeouts. Salem State used a rotation of five pitchers. Joshua Bell (0-1) took the loss in relief, yielding three earned runs on three hits and two walks in 1.0 innings.
Five of the Huskies' 18 hits went for extra bases. Sophomore Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) and senior Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) each struck for doubles, while McDonough, Hapworth, and senior Matt Bender (Walpole, Mass.) each hit home runs. Sophomore Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) was 3-for-5 at the plate with four RBI, while Devin Warren collected four of USM's 18 hits in a 4-for-5 effort. Bender and McDonough each had two RBI.
Salem State connected for eight runs (six earned) on nine hits. Seniors Joe Kasper (Lynn, Mass.), Dan Connors (Danver, Mass.) and sophomore Joe White (Bellingham, Mass.) each had two hits, while White and senior Colton Fontaine (Newburyport, Mass.) each drove in a pair of runs to lead the Vikings.
After a high-scoring first inning that chased away each team's staring pitcher, the Vikings and the Huskies were tied at four. With Tobey keeping Salem State off of the scoreboard after the first, USM grabbed a commanding 11-5 lead through three innings. The Huskies scored four runs in the bottom of the second on RBI singles from Hapworth and sophomore Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee), and a two-run single from Dexter to lead 8-4. Salem State took one run back in the top of the third on an RBI sngle from White, but USM poured on three more runs in the home half of the inning, including an RBI double to left field from McDonough.
The score remained unchanged until the top of the seventh when the Vikings cut into the Husky lead to trail 11-8 with three runs. White and junior Tyler Galimi (Northbridge, Mass.) each had an RBI in the inning. With its lead trimmed to three runs, USM responded in the bottom of the seventh extending its lead to 15-8 with four runs. Hillier started the scoring for the Huskies with an RBI single to center field, before Hapworth and McDonough went back-to-back for home runs. Hapworth's shot plated two runs, while McDonough claimed a solo shot. Scoreless innings from senior Zach Bean (Westbrook, Maine) and freshman Evan Zuchowski (Dover, N.H.) in the top of the eighth and ninth respectively kept the score 15-8 for USM in the win.
Southern Maine returns to action tomorrow (12:00 p.m.) in its Little East Conference opener. The Huskies take on LEC rival Eastern Connecticut in a doubleheader.