NCAA Regional Tournament: Southern Maine Downs Oswego, MIT to Stay Alive

Senior Jake Dexter (#13) heads to a happy dugout after scoring on a wild pitch in the ninth inning against Oswego (photo by Jason Johns).
Senior Jake Dexter (#13) heads to a happy dugout after scoring on a wild pitch in the ninth inning against Oswego (photo by Jason Johns).

Huskies Face New England College on Sunday (12 p.m.)

            GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine) pitched four shutout innings and scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning on a wild pitch to give the University of Southern Maine Huskies a 3-2, come-from-behind win over the Oswego State Lakers Saturday afternoon in an elimination game of the 2019 NCAA Division III Regional Tournament at Ed Flaherty Field.

            With the win over Oswego, the Huskies moved into another elimination game Saturday night against MIT.  Junior right-hander Gage Feeney (Cutler, Maine/Washington Academy) hurled 7.2 strong innings and sophomore Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine) had three hits and four RBI to spark the Huskies to a 14-5 win over the MIT Engineers.  The win over MIT advances USM to the championship round needing two wins over New England College on Sunday (12 p.m.).

            New England College, 27-15, moved into the championship round as the lone remaining unbeaten team after scoring three times in the bottom of the eighth to beat MIT 6-5.

            The Huskies improved to 36-8 overall and must beat NEC twice on Sunday to win the regional tournament and advance to next weekend's super-regional.  The losses eliminated the Lakers, 29-14 on the season, and the Engineers finished the season 23-19-1. 

Game One

            USM sophomore Joshua Joy (Smithfield, Maine) and Oswego senior Nick DeMarco (Latham, N.Y.) were locked in a scoreless pitchers' duel until the sixth when the Lakers struck for two runs against Joy and senior Henry Curran (South Portland, Maine) before Dexter came on to put out the fire.  With two runs in, Dexter inherited a bases-loaded, no-out situation with and got out of the jam with a force play at the plate, and a 5-2-3 double play.

            USM struck back for one in the seventh when junior Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine) doubled, and moved to third on a single from senior Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee).  Dexter plated Hillier with a ground out to second base.

            In the ninth, Hillier singled, took second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Warren's ground out.  Dexter lifted a fly ball to right field that was misplayed into a three-base error allowing Hillier to score.  Dexter would score on a short wild pitch.

            The Lakers got a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth, but Dexter induced a ground ball for junior shortstop Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) to turn a game-ending 6-3 double play.

            Dexter earned his second win of the season allowing just two hits over his four innings of work.  He struck out one.  DeMarco, who was tagged with the loss, went 8.1 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits.  He did not walk a batter and struck out six. 

Game Two

            Feeney earned his seventh win of the season allowing three runs on five hits and one walk over 7.2 innings.  He struck out four. 

            Hillier jump-started a six-run uprising in the third inning with a two-run double.  Dexter added an RBI single to score Hillier, and Troiano flared a two-run triple down the right field line, and scored on the play on a relay throwing error.

            Up 7-3 going into the seventh, the Huskies sent 11 men to the plate to push six runs across.  Troiano brought in the first two runs with a double down the left field line.

            Troiano was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle for the Huskies.  Warren, Hillier and Dexter each had two hits.

            Junior Matt Johnston (Portola Valley, Calif.) had two hits for the Engineers , including a long, two-run homer in the third inning.  Senior starting pitcher Nick Charchut (Santa Monica, Calif.) pitched two-plus innings and absorbed the loss.