Southern Maine Edges Tufts 3-2
HARWICH, Mass. -- Sophomore Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) scored go ahead run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning to give the second-seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory over the third-seeded Tufts University Jumbos in a winners' bracket game of the 2014 NCAA Division III Harwich Regional Tournament Thursday night at Whitehouse Field.
The win moves the Huskies (33-12) into a winners' bracket game against Endicott College on Friday (4:30 p.m.). USM and Endicott are the final two unbeaten teams in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament. The game is a rematch of last year's two regional finalists. The Jumbos (34-8) will face an elimination game against fifth-seeded M.I.T. on Friday (1:00 p.m.).
Dexter led off the eighth with his third hit of the game, and moved to second when senior Chris Bernard's (Scarborough, Maine) ground ball was misplayed for an error. After a strikeout, Dexter took third on senior Troy Thibodeau's (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) fielder's choice. Thibodeau would steal second before junior Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H.) walked to load the bases. While facing senior pinch hitter Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine), Tufts junior Willie Archibald (Milton, Mass.) uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Dexter to score. Archibald regrouped after walking Chadwick to get out of the inning without further damage.
USM junior right-hander Andrew Richards (South Portland, Maine) escaped a minor jam in the eighth, and a two-out, bases loaded situation in the ninth to earn his fifth win of the season against one loss.
In the Tufts' ninth, Richards retired the leadoff hitter before junior Bryan Egan (Watervliet, N.Y./Shaker) reached on an infield single. Freshman pinch runner Harry Brown (Beverly, Mass.) moved to second on a wild pitch. After a foul pop to Thibodeau for the second out, senior Nick Cutsumpas (White Plains, N.Y.) reached on an infield error that prolonged the inning. Richards plunked rookie Tom Petry (Worcester, Mass./St. John's) with a pitch to load the bases, but got junior Connor McDavitt (Holden, Mass./Wachusett) to ground into a fielder's choice on an 0-2 pitch to end the game.
USM took a 1-0 in the fourth inning as three consecutive singles by senior John Carey (South Portland, Maine), Dexter and Bernard produced a run.
Tufts scored twice in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. A two-out infield throwing error kept the inning alive for the Jumbos. McCallum brought home the first run with an infield single, and senior Wade Hauser (Palo Alto, Calif.) singled home the go ahead run. McCallum was cut down at the plate on a relay from Glauser to rookie Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) to senior Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) to end the frame.
The Huskies equalized in the sixth as Carey reached on an error. Dexter advanced Carey with a single to left field. Verrier's one-out fielder's choice cut down Carey at third. Thibodeau then singled to center on a 3-2 offering to bring home Dexter with the tying run.
Dexter and McDonough accounted for five of USM's eight hits in the game. Sophomore right-hander Shyler Scates (Jefferson, Maine/Erskine Academy) started on the hill and went 6 1/3 innings allowing two runs (both unearned) on eight hits and one walk while striking out one. Richards hurled 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief giving up only one hit while striking out two.
McDavitt, Hauser, Egan and Cutsumpas had two hits apiece for the Jumbos. Junior southpaw Tom Ryan (Walpole, Mass.) worked the first seven innings on the mound, but did not figure in the decision. Ryan allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks while fanning five. Archibald took the loss to slip to 3-2 on the season.