Southern Maine Sweeps Castleton 9-2 and 9-7
CASTLETON, Vt. -- The University of Southern Maine Huskies solidified their hold on first place in the Little East Conference baseball standings on Friday by sweeping a doubleheader at Castleton University, 9-5 and 9-7, at Spartan Baseball Field. The doubleheader was moved up a day due to the inclement weather forecast for Saturday.
USM got home runs from junior Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine), senior Jack Sylvia (Glastonbury, Conn.) and junior Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine) to power by Castleton in the opener. In the nightcap, the Huskies built an 8-2 lead on the strength of a five-run uprising in the fourth inning and a pair of solo home runs from sophomore Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine), then had to withstand a five-run Spartan rally in the eighth inning to hold on for the win.
The two wins push the Huskies record to 23-5 overall and 11-2 in Little East play. The Spartans, playing their first season in the LEC, slip to 13-16 overall and 5-6 in the league.
Down 4-2 heading into the fourth inning, the Huskies erupted for four runs to take the lead for good. Junior Kip Richard (Kennebunk, Maine) brought in the first run with a single, and two batters later, Hillier slammed a three-run homer over the fence in left field.
Sylvia expanded the Huskies' lead to 8-4 in the fifth inning with his two-run round tripper to right field.
After Castleton carved one run off the Huskies' lead in the sixth inning, Hapworth got that run right back leading off the seventh with a solo home run.
Five players had two hits in the game as USM had 14 hits, and every member of the starting lineup had a base hit.
Junior right-hander Gage Feeney (Cutler, Maine/Washington Academy) earned the win on the hill after surviving a shaky first two innings. Feeney, now 5-1, went six innings giving up five runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four. Senior Henry Curran (South Portland, Maine) earned a save working three innings without allowing a hit. Curran walked two and struck out four.
Junior Davis Mikell (Williston, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) hit a solo home run in the opening inning for the Spartans. Senior Deagan Poland (Williston, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) had an RBI single, and classmate Dylan Bailey (Waterbury, Vt./Harwood) had a two-run single in the second that gave Castleton a 4-2 lead at the time. Bailey had two of the Spartans' six hits in game.
Senior Joe Gratton (Pittsfield, Mass.) started on the hill for Castleton and took the loss. Gratton surrendered six runs on eight hits and two walks over four innings. He struck out one.
The Huskies appeared to be on cruise control leading 8-2 in the eighth inning until the Spartans erupted for five runs. USM scored five times in the fourth inning to break a scoreless deadlock, and added single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The Spartans countered with two runs in the fifth.
Southern Maine strung together six consecutive hits in the fourth inning to score five times. Senior Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) knocked in the first run with a single. Hapworth followed with a two-run double. After a single by senior Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee), senior Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) knocked a two-run single through the right side.
Troiano hit solo home runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Quintal doubled and scored on Sylvia's single in the sixth.
The Spartans had four hits, including a two-run homer by freshman Brayden Millet (Martinez, Calif.), and benefitted from a USM infield miscue in their five-run rallying in the eighth. Dexter, who came to the mound with one run in and two on, struggled for a couple batters before closing the inning with two strikeouts. He retired the side in order in the ninth.
Troiano and junior Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) led the Huskies' 14-hit attack in the with three hits apiece. Hillier and Quintal also had two hits.
Sophomore Joshua Joy (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) picked up the win on the mound working seven strong innings. Joy allowed two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four.
Bailey had two doubles, Poland had a triple and a single, and junior John Stewart (Granville, N.Y.) had a double and a single to lead the Spartans' 10-hit attack. Junior right-hander Garrett Moran (Killingworth, Conn./Xavier) took the loss on the hill giving up seven runs on 11 hits over six innings.
The Huskies are off until Tuesday (3:30 p.m.) when they will host the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in a Little East game. The Spartans are also off until Tuesday (3:30 p.m.) when they host Keene State College for an LEC contest.