1991 & 1997 NCAA Division III National Champions

Southern Maine Fends Off Bates 6-5

Sophomore Ben Lambert pitched two scoreless innings to earn his first save in USM's win over Bates (file photo by Jason Johns).
Sophomore Ben Lambert pitched two scoreless innings to earn his first save in USM's win over Bates (file photo by Jason Johns).

Southern Maine Fends Off Bates 6-5

            LEWISTON, Maine -- The University of Southern Maine Huskies used a pair of three-run innings to build a 6-2 lead, then held on to defeat the Bates College Bobcats 6-5 in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon at Leahey Field.

            With the win, the Huskies rebounded from their Friday double dip to Little East Conference rival Eastern Connecticut State University to defeat the Bobcats for the second time in four days and improved to 27-10 overall.  The Bobcats dropped their fourth straight game to conclude their regular season at 14-17 overall.

            Trailing 2-0 following a two-run first inning double by Bates' junior Justin White (Whitesboro, N.Y.), the Huskies put up three runs in the second inning and three more in third to take a 6-2 lead.  The Bobcats rallied for a single run in the third, and two more in the sixth to close within one run, but were unable to push across the tying run over the final three innings.

            In the USM second, sophomore Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Maine) led off with a single and advanced to third on junior Zach Quintal's (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) double.  Both runners scored on junior Kaleb Bridgham's (Minot, Maine/Poland Regional) double to center field.  The Huskies would load the bases on a single from senior Kyle Heath (Westbrook, Maine) and a walk to rookie Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine).  Sophomore Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine) brought home Bridgham with a ground ball out.

            In the third, Olszak and Quintal set the table again with a one-out walk and a single.  After a flyball out, Heath singled home Olszak and advanced to second on the throw.  Troiano then drove in Quintal and Heath with a single to left-center field to make it 6-2.

            Bates nicked USM junior reliever Tanner Laberge (Windham, Maine), who came into the game in the first inning, for a single run in the third.  Sophomore Jack Arend (Newfields, N.H.) led off with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch.  Arend went to third on a single by sophomore Zach Avila (San Francisco, Calif.).  Laberge would get an out before giving up an RBI single to White, but escaped without any further damage getting a ground ball out and a fly ball to center.

            Laberge's day came to a close in the bottom of the sixth.  After getting the leadoff man, a walk to sophomore Kyle Carter (Plantation, Fla.) brought on USM sophomore right-hander Colton Lawrence (Farmington, Maine/Mt. Blue) to pitch for the Huskies.  Laberge pitched five innings to get his second win over Bates allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while fanning three.

            Bates would load the bases against Lawrence on a single by sophomore Will Sylvia (Newton, Mass.) and a walk to Arend.  Avila then singled to center field bring home Carter and Sylvia.  Lawrence would strand two runners getting the final out on a fly ball to right.

            USM got three shutout innings from a pair of relievers, junior Henry Curran (South Portland, Maine) and sophomore Ben Lambert (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy.  Curran struck out the side in the seventh spaced around a pair of singles.  Lambert went the final two giving up no hits and striking out four.

            Bates received an outstanding six-inning scoreless relief stint from sophomore Nate Collins (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.).  Collins stifled the Huskies allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six.  Senior starter Connor Russell (Cumberland, Maine) went the opening three innings and was tagged with the loss.

            Quintal went 3 for 4 with two runs scored for USM.  Heath and junior Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) each had a pair of singles.  For Bates, Avila, White and Cater had two hits apiece.  White also drove in three runs.

            Southern Maine concludes its regular season tomorrow afternoon traveling to Bowdoin College for a non-conference contest.  Bates will play in the NESCAC championship tournament against an opponent to be determined.  The tournament begins on Friday and will be held at Trinity College.