GORHAM, Maine – Senior Amber Kelly (Berwick, Maine/Noble) went 3-for-8 at the plate with a double and an RBI, and classmate Taylor Lux (Arudel, Maine/Thornton Academy) drove in a pair of runs, while sophomore Alexis Brown (Malden, Mass.) pitched a four-hit complete game shutout to pace the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a split on its 2018 opening day.
The Huskies fell in eight innings to Saint Mary's (Indiana) 4-3, but bounced back to take a 2-0 win over the Lakeland College Muskies. Southern Maine is 1-1 on the season. Saint Mary's improved to 7-0 with its win over USM, while Lakeland evened its record at 3-3.
GAME ONE: St. Mary's 4, USM 3
Trailing 3-2, Saint Mary's Sydney Swartz doubled in the game-tying run with a drive to right center field, and Morgan Raymer hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to centerfield in the bottom of the eighth to deliver the win. All four of Saint Mary's runs were unearned as USM received solid pitching efforts from starter Kelly and relief pitcher Rebecca Ackerson (Whitefield, Maine/Hall-Dale). Kelly pitched 3.c innings giving up five hits and three walks, while striking out two. Ackerson, who came on in relief to get the final out of the fourth inning and retired the side via the strikeout in the fifth, took the loss pitching four inning of one-hit softball. She struck out three and did not yield a walk. Zoe Bruni pitched all eight innings for Saint Mary's. Bruni gave up three runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk. She struck out five.
For USM, Lux was 1-for-3, driving in a pair of runs with a deep single to give USM the lead in the top of the second.
GAME TWO: SOUTHERN MAINE 2, LAKELAND 0
Brown scattered four hits and three walks over seven innings to earn her first win of 2018 as the Huskies created all the offense they would need in the bottom of the third for the 2-0 win. Brown struck out three to pick up the fourth win of her career.
With the score even at 0-0 through two and a half innings, Kelly launched a double to center field to put USM's first run on the board. Kelly's RBI scored junior Brittany Plowman (Scarborough, Maine), who led off the inning with a single. Back-to-back singles from Courtney Davis (Woburn, Mass.) and Brown had the bases full of Huskies with no outs. The Muskies were able to record two outs facing the scoring threat on a lineout and a pop up, before sophomore Erin Martin (Biddeford, Maine) earned an RBI the hard way after being hit by a pitch to bring around Kelly to home. Lakeland got the final out of the inning to keep the deficit at two runs.
Brown faced scoring threats in the top of the fourth, fifth and sixth but battled her way out of each jam to hold on for the win. In the fourth, Brown had a runner on third with one out, but received solid defense on a line-out to Lux at short, before getting the final out with a strikeout. In the fifth, Brown worked her way around a walk and a two-out single and another runner on third, retiring the side on a fly out to right field. And in the sixth, Brown bounced back from a lead off double to maintain the lead. Brown closed the game in the seventh with a lead off infield pop up, a walk, a fly out to left and a ground out to second.
Southern Maine returns to action Tuesday against Stevenson (1:00) and Olivet (3:00).
- cac –