Southern Maine Sweeps Keene State 9-3 and 11-8
GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) slammed a two-run home run to spark a six-run, seventh-inning rally and the University of Southern Maine Huskies went on to defeat the visiting Keene State College Owls 11-8 in the nightcap of the teams Little East Conference doubleheader at the USM Baseball Stadium on Saturday. The Huskies swept the doubleheader by taking the opening game 9-3.
The sweep improved the Huskies record to 24-8 overall and 11-1 in LEC play, and moved them within one game of winning the LEC regular-season title and the top seed in the upcoming championship tournament. The Owls, who came into the doubleheader on a three-game winning streak, dropped to 13-20 overall and 4-8 in the conference.
The Huskies built a 4-0 lead in the first two innings before the Owls rallied for three runs in the third to make it a one-run game. The Huskies slowly pulled away with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and three runs in the seventh.
In the first, sophomore Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) led off the inning with a walk, advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by senior Matt Bender (Walpole, Mass.), and scored on junior Sam Stauble's (Harrison, Maine/Bridgton Academy) fielder's choice.
Southern Maine used some "small ball" to score three in the second. Sophomore Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) drove in the first run with a bunt single, and rookie Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) drove in two with a bloop single to right field over a drawn in infield.
Keene responded in the third when rookie Sam Czel (Newtown, Conn.) bunted his way on and scored on a double by classmate Tom Meucci (Newington, Conn.). Sophomore Mac Struthers (Strafford, N.H.) followed with a single to put runners at first and third. A wild pitch allowed Struthers to move up to second, and both runners moved up, Meucci scoring, on a second wild pitch. Struthers scored on a sacrifice fly to cut the USM lead to 4-3.
The Huskies picked up an unearned run in the fourth on an outfield error, and a single run in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by sophomore Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) and Warren.
USM put the game away with three unearned runs in the seventh. Olszak picked up an RBI with a bases loaded walk, and Quintal followed with a two-run single.
Quintal paced the Huskies' 11-hit attack going 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Dexter and Warren had two hits apiece, and Olszak had three RBI.
Sophomore Dalton Rice (Waterford, Maine/Oxford Hills) pitched into the seventh to get his fifth win of the season for USM. The right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks while fanning eight. Sophomore Matt Correale (Peabody, Mass.) and senior Alex Tobey (South Berwick, Maine/Berwick Academy) combined to pitch three scoreless innings in relief.
Struthers and sophomore John Tarascio (Wethersfield, Conn.) had two hits apiece for the Owls. Senior starter Mike Crimi (Bethel, Conn.) was tagged with his third loss against five wins. Crimi went 4 2/3 innings giving up six runs on eight hits and five walks while striking out three.
Down 7-5 heading into the home half of the seventh, the Huskies struck for six runs to take the victory. Rookie Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine) led off the inning with a walk and McDonough followed with his shot off KSC senior reliever and losing pitcher Alan Schiff (East Hartford, Conn.) to the right of the scoreboard in left field to tie the score. The homer was the fifth of the season for McDonough.
Dexter followed with a bunt single, and Warren reached on a costly two-base outfield error. Junior pinch hitter Tom Budrewicz (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet Regional) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Olszak drove in the go ahead run with a ground ball to first.
An intentional walk to Quintal reloaded the bases, and Bender made the Owls pay with a two-run double to right field. Quintal scored the sixth run on a sacrifice fly to right by Stauble.
Dexter got his fourth win of the season pitching the final three innings allowing one run on two hits.
Keene State had rallied from a 3-0 deficit with a five-run, third-inning outburst highlighted by a two-run double from sophomore Connor Longley (Foxboro, Mass.) and a three-run homer from junior Christian Bourgea (Litchfield, N.H.). Bourgea would also hit a solo homer in the ninth off Dexter.
USM scored a run in the third on Warren's RBI single, and one in the fourth on a double by Hapworth to pull even at 5-5.
Longley struck again in the sixth with a two-run triple to deep right field to give the Owls a 7-5 lead.
Quintal, McDonough and Warren had three hits apiece in USM's 17-hit attack. Longley went 4 for 5 with four RBI, and Bourgeau drove in four with his two round trippers.
Southern Maine is back in action tomorrow afternoon (1:00 p.m.) hosting Western New England University. Prior to the start of the game, USM will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1997 team's winning the NCAA championship, and rename the USM field Ed Flaherty Field in honor of its long-time head coach.
Keene State is off until next Friday when it hosts Eastern Connecticut State University for a Little East Conference doubleheader.