Hapworth Hits Walk-Off Grand Slam in Nightcap
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Junior Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine) hit a walk-off grand slam home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the #6/#7 University of Southern Maine Huskies a sweep of the Rhode Island College Anchormen, 10-3 and 9-5, in Little East Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon at Pontarelli Field.
Junior pitcher Ben Lambert (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) threw his first complete game in a USM uniform in the opener, striking out a career-high 11 batters, to earn his third win of the season.
The sweep extends the Huskies' winning streak to eight games, and improved their record to 12-2 overall and 4-0 in conference play. The Anchormen, winners in four of their last five coming into Saturday's twin bill, slip to 11-6 overall and 1-2 in LEC games. The doubleheader was played at Rhode Island College due to USM's home field not being playable.
Lambert's only trouble came in third inning when the Anchormen took advantage of four hits and a walk to push three runs across to take a 3-2 lead. Lambert allowed just one hit and one walk after the third inning, and retired the final 11 batters he faced.
RIC took the lead in the third as junior Nate Vigeant (Coventry, R.I./St. Raphael) had a one-out double and rookie Stephen Andrews (Lincoln, R.I.) drew a two-out walk to set the table. Three consecutive singles from junior Sam Franco (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West), junior Ryan Rotondo (Warwick, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) and freshman Charlie Amarante (Bristol, R.I./Mt. Hope) drove in runs before Lambert struck out junior Rommey Morel (Providence, R.I./Central) to end the frame.
The Huskies took the lead (5-3) for good in the fourth with three runs on an RBI double from senior Jack Sylvia (Glastonbury, Conn.) followed by a two-run single from junior Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.).
Hapworth drove in a run in the sixth with a single, and hit a solo home run in the eighth. Olszak picked up his third RBI with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Senior Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) followed Olszak's sac fly with an RBI single.
Dexter led the Huskies' 15-hit attack going 4-for-4, and Sylvia was 3-for-3 with a walk. Olszak had two hits, including a double, to go with his three RBI.
Vigeant had two doubles and Rotondo had a double and single for the Anchormen. RIC starting hurler, freshman Connor Davey (Cheshire, Conn.), was tagged with his first loss of the season after three wins. Davey surrendered six runs on 12 hits and four walks while striking out four in six innings on the hill.
Down 5-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Huskies scored twice to tie the game. Sylvia brought home senior Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood), who singled to lead off the inning, with a ground out. Sophomore Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine) scored the tying run on an infield error.
The Huskies threatened in the ninth inning with runners at first and second with one out, but were unable to get a clutch hit. In the 10th, Olszak walked with one out, and Dexter and junior Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine) had back-to-back singles to load the sacks for Hapworth. Hapworth launch a pitch from junior Jake Rockefeller (Cumberland, R.I.) over everything for the for his second home run, and the Huskies' third grand slam homer of the season.
Troiano hit a solo home run leading off the second inning to give USM a 3-1 lead at the time. The Anchormen got one run back on a Rontondo double in the third, and Morel hit a two-run homer in the fourth off USM junior starter Gage Feeney (Cutler, Maine/Washington Academy) to give RIC a 4-3 lead.
Morel scored an unearned run in the sixth against senior reliever Henry Curran (South Portland, Maine) when he led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice, and scored when Vigeant's grounder was booted for an error.
Curran gave the Huskies a strong four-inning effort in relief of Feeney allowing the one unearned run on two hits and two walks while striking out three. Dexter, who took over in the ninth, retired all six batters he faced to earn his first win of the season.
Dexter, Hillier, Hapworth and Troiano had two hits apiece for the Huskies in the nightcap. Rotondo had a double and two singles, and Morel had his first homer and a double, for the Anchormen.
Rockefeller, working in relief, took the loss giving up six runs on eight hit and three walks while striking out four in 4.1 innings.
Southern Maine is scheduled to host the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Tuesday (3:30 p.m.) in a Little East Conference game. Rhode Island College will entertain Salve Regina University for a non-conference game on Wednesday (3:30 p.m.).