1991 & 1997 NCAA Division III National Champions

NCAA Regional Tournament: Southern Maine Falls in Game 7 to N.E. College in 13 Innings, 7-6

Senior Jake Dexter delivers a pitch against New England College at the NCAA Regional Tournament (photo by Jason Johns).
Senior Jake Dexter delivers a pitch against New England College at the NCAA Regional Tournament (photo by Jason Johns).

NCAA Division III Regional Tournament
Southern Maine Falls in Game 7 to N.E. College in 13 Innings, 7-6

            GORHAM, Maine -- Needing two wins Sunday to capture the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament, the University of Southern Maine baseball team took care of business in Game Six of the tournament pounding out 20 hits to defeat New England College 16-4 to force the if-necessary Game Seven in the four-team, double-elimination tournament.  Despite outhitting NEC 18-8 in the final game, USM fell 7-6 in the 13th inning when NEC junior Jameson Carey (Amherst, Mass.) delivered the game-winning run with a single to right-center field.

            Southern Maine concluded its 2019 season with 37-9 record.  New England College, now 28-16, advances to next weekend's super regional tournament to play the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Game Seven

            Southern Maine fell behind 4-0 in the first inning of the deciding game, but was able to claw its way back in with single runs in the second inning on an RBI single from senior Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee), and the fifth inning on sophomore Sam Troiano's (South Portland, Maine) lead-off home run.

            The Huskies would take a 6-4 lead with a four-run uprising in the sixth.  An infield throwing error allowed the first run to score, and the second scored on a two-out pop out.  Junior Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine) hit his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot to center field, to cap the rally.

            NEC tied the game in the seventh with two runs on an RBI single from freshman Anderson Jimenez (Lowell, Mass.) and a groundout.  The teams went scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, and would need four extra frames to decide the issue.

            The Pilgrims tallied the winning run in the bottom of the 13th when senior Nick Powers (Malden, Mass.) reached on an infield error, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored when Carey lined a single into right-center field.

            NEC dodged a bullet in the 11th inning when second baseman Jimenez made the defensive play of the tournament with a full-out diving catch in the outfield with two outs and the bases loaded to save two runs.

            Carey's game-winning hit made a winner of sophomore Shaun Cormier (Rochester, N.H.).  Cormier came on in relief of rookie starter Dylan Champagne (Newtown, Conn.) after the Hapworth home run to pitch 7.1 scoreless innings.  Champagne gave up just four hits and two walks while striking out five to earn his second win of the season.

            The Pilgrims took their 4-0 lead in the first on a bases loaded walk to senior Edwin Nunez (Lawrence, Mass.), a two-run double by junior Luis Atiles (Roxbury, Mass.) and a sacrifice fly from Powers.

            USM senior Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee), who led the Huskies' offense with four hits, would take the loss.  Dexter surrendered just three hits and one walk over 6.1 innings, and struck out six.  The run he allowed was unearned.

Game Six

            Playing as the visitors, the Huskies jumped out to 9-0 lead in the first three innings and never looked back.  Junior Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine) led the Huskies' 20-hit assault against five NEC hurlers going 5-for-6 with a career-best six RBI.  Senior Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) went 4-for-4 with four runs scored and two RBI.  Every member of the Huskies starting nine had at least one hit in the game.

            Junior right-hander Ben Lambert (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy), working on one day's rest, was the beneficiary of the Huskies' offensive explosion.  Lambert was perfect through four innings, and took a no-hitter into the seventh.  He finished his day's work going 6.1 innings, allowing the one hit and two walks while striking out four to earn his 10th win of the season.

            Jameson and sophomore Connor Morin (North Andover, Mass.) had two hits apiece for the Pilgrims.  It was Morin's lead-off double in the seventh that broke up Lambert's no-hit bid.  Junior starting pitcher Joseph Pascucci (Wayne, N.J.) was tagged with the loss. 

Tournament Notes

            In five games in the tournament, Hillier finished with 16 hits in 25 at bats for a .560 average ... Warren hit safely in all five games banging out 10 hits ...