Southern Maine Sweeps Eastern Connecticut 5-2 and 2-1
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Sophomore left-hander Matt Correale (Peabody, Mass.) earned a save in the first game and the win in the nightcap as the University of Southern Maine Huskies baseball team swept the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors, 5-2 and 2-1, in a Little East Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the EC Baseball Stadium.
The sweep extended the Huskies' winning streak to four games, and improved their overall record to 11-7. The doubleheader was USM's conference opener. The Warriors, the defending LEC champions, have dropped three of their last four games, and are now 10-6 overall and 1-3 in conference play. This is the third straight year that USM has swept the regular-season doubleheader.
In the opener, sophomore right-hander Dalton Rice (Waterford, Maine) went 8 1/3 innings to get the win, and rookie shortstop Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) went 4 for 4 with an RBI. In the nightcap, Correale hurled 4 1/3 innings on three-hit shutout relief and earned the win when the Huskies pushed across an unearned run in the seventh inning.
Southern Maine picked up single runs in the first two innings to give Rice a 2-0 lead. In the first, sophomore Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) singled, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on junior Sam Stauble's (Harrison, Maine/Bridgton Academy) sacrifice fly.
In the second inning, sophomore Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) drove in classmate Kip Richard (Kennebunk, Maine) with a single. The run was unearned as a result of one of five ECSU errors in game.
The Huskies tacked on another run in the sixth when a Quintal sacrifice fly brought home Warren who had reached on an infield error.
With flawless defense being played behind him, Rice kept the Warriors off the scoreboard for the first seven innings.
In the eighth, both sides scored a pair of runs. The Huskies scored two unearned runs on RBI singles from Olszak and senior Matt Bender (Walpole, Mass.). The Warriors finally nicked Rice for two runs on an RBI single by senior Alex Zachary (Enfield, Conn./Enrico Fermi) and an RBI fielder's choice by sophomore Alex Parkos (Meriden, Conn./Xavier) before Rice got the final out.
Rice departed in the ninth after surrendering a one-out double to junior D.J. Scavone (Auburn, Mass.). Correale came on and was touched for a single to put runners at the corners, but got a game-ending, 1-6-4-3 double play to save the game.
Olszak, with four hits, and Bender with two were the only repeat hitters in the Huskies' 10-hit attack. Rice went 8 1/3 innings allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks while fanning three. Scavone and senior Christian Budzik (Cromwell, Conn.) had two hits apiece for the Warriors. EC sophomore starter Jordan Muchin (West Hartford, Conn./Conrad) was the tough luck loser allowing five runs (one earned) on 10 hits and two walks. He struck out five.
The nightcap was a pitchers duel between the USM combination of senior southpaw Tom Fortier (Falmouth, Maine) and Correale and EC senior starter Ron Buchetto (Clinton, Conn./Morgan School).
Eastern scored its only run of the game in the second inning as Parkos walked, moved to second on senior Pat Sirois' (Cromwell, Conn.) single, and took third on a flyout. After Sirois stole second, both runners would move up 90 feet on Scavone's sacrifice fly. Fortier escaped any further damage getting the next batter for the third out.
USM responded in the third when junior Kyle Heath (Westbrook, Maine) singled with one out, and advanced to second on Olszak's ground out. Heath advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Quintal's double to center field.
The Huskies scored what proved to be the winning run in the seventh when Warren scored an unearned run on an infield error.
Eastern put together a mini threat in the eighth, but Correale was able to get another inning-ending double play. The second-year hurler set the Warriors down in order in the ninth to pick up his second win of the season.
Warren and sophomore Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) had two hits apiece for the Huskies. Parkos and Sirois were repeat hitters for the Warriors. Buchetto took the loss after allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk while striking out six.
Southern Maine will play a rescheduled Little East Conference doubleheader tomorrow (12:00 p.m.) when they face Western Connecticut State University. The doubleheader will be played at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn. Eastern Connecticut will play a single game at Roger Williams University tomorrow (1:00 p.m.).