1991 & 1997 NCAA Division III National Champions

Southern Maine Sweeps Western Connecticut 13-2 (8) and 24-7 (7)

Senior Zach Quintal drove in eight runs in USM's 24-7 win over Western Connecticvut (file photo by Jason Johns).
Senior Zach Quintal drove in eight runs in USM's 24-7 win over Western Connecticvut (file photo by Jason Johns).

Southern Maine Sweeps Western Connecticut 13-2 (8), 24-7 (7)

            HARTFORD, Conn. -- The University of Southern Maine Huskies pounded out 40 hits and scored 37 runs en route to sweeping the Western Connecticut State University Colonials, 13-2 (8 innings) and 24-7 (7 innings), in the teams'  Little East Conference opener Sunday afternoon at DiBenedetto Stadium on the campus of Trinity College.  The doubleheader was move to Trinity due to unplayable field conditions at Western Connecticut.

            Junior right-hander Ben Lambert (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) hurled seven shutout innings in the opener to earn his second win of the season.  Junior Anthony Degifico (South Portland, Maine) put the 10-run rule into play with his first career home run, a grand slam, in the eighth inning.

            In the nightcap, the Huskies overcame a 7-5 deficit after four innings by scoring 19 runs over the next three innings.  The Huskies tallied three in the fifth inning to take the lead, then pulled away with eight runs in the sixth and eight more in the seventh.  Senior Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) drove in eight runs with two doubles, a triple and a grand slam home run.

            The sweep extends the Huskies' winning streak to five games, and improves their record to 9-2 overall and 2-0 in LEC play.  The Colonials have dropped their last five to slide to 1-11 overall and 0-2 in conference play.

Game One

            Lambert shut out the Colonials over seven innings giving up just two hits and four walks while fanning six.  The junior right-hander gave up a second-inning single to junior Matt Mancini (Waterbury, Conn./Sacred Heart) and a double to junior Erik Merrill (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Roy C. Ketchum) leading off the fourth.

            The Huskies grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a groundout from junior Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) and an RBI single from senior Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee).  Junior Kip Richard (Kennebunk, Maine) doubled the lead in the fourth with a two-run double.

            An RBI double from junior Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine), an infield error and an RBI single from sophomore Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine) produced three runs.  Two sixth-inning runs on RBI singles from senior Jack Sylvia (Glastonbury, Conn.) and junior Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine) pushed the Huskies' lead to 9-0.

            USM put the 10-run rule into play in the eight when Degifico hit a grand slam home run.  The grand slam was the first by a USM hitter since former All-American Chris Bernard in 2013.

            Western Connecticut senior Matt Fasoli (Trumbull, Conn.) took his third loss of the season after surrendering nine runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks.

Game Two

            Trailing 5-1 in the third inning, the Colonials took advantage of four walks and three hits to push six runs across to take a 7-5 lead.  Mancini had an RBI single to plate the first run.  ? Zach Edwards doubled down the right-field line to drive in two more, and another scored on an error.  After a walk, sophomore Andrew Luis (Danbury, Conn.) tripled to center field to drive in two and give Western Conn. a 7-5 lead.

            Southern Maine regained the lead with three in the fifth on an RBI triple by Quintal, and sacrifice flies from Troiano and Olszak.

            In the Huskies' eight-run sixth, Quintal had a pair of doubles to drive in three.  Troiano drove in two with a double, and Hapworth stroked a two-run single.

            The Huskies loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh on a triple by junior Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine) and two walks before Quintal hit his second home run of the season for the Huskies' second grand slam of the day.  The Huskies added four more runs on an RBI single from freshman Arlo Pike (Buxton, Maine/Bonny Eagle), a two-run triple from Olszak and an RBI double from freshman Colby Dexter (Belgrade, Maine/Messalonskee).

            Leading the Huskies' offense were senior Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) who went 5-for-5 with four runs scored, Quintal with four extra-base hits, and Olszak who was 4-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored.

            Senior southpaw Henry Curran (South Portland, Maine) earned the win with 3.1 innings of no-hit shutout relief work.

            Western senior starting pitcher George Bielezna (Danbury, Conn.) took the loss allowing eight runs on 14 hits over 4.2 innings. 

Up Next

            Southern Maine travels to Endicott College for a non-conference game on Wednesday (3:30 p.m.).  Western Connecticut hosts Ramapo College on Tuesday (3:30 p.m.).