Eastern Connecticut Sweeps Southern Maine 2-0 and 7-5
GORHAM, Maine -- Junior right-hander Jordan Muchin (West Hartford, Conn.) spun a brilliant eight-hit, no-walk performance for a 2-0 shutout in the opening game and the visiting Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors went on to take the second game 7-5 to sweep the University of Southern Maine Huskies in Little East Conference action Friday at Ed Flaherty Field.
The sweep vaulted the Warriors over the Huskies into second place in the LEC standings. The Warriors concluded their regular season 22-14 overall and 10-4 in LEC play. The Huskies had their eight-game winning streak snapped by the loss in the first game, and were tagged with back-to-back losses for the first time since their March trip to Florida. The Huskies, now 26-10 overall and slip to third place in the conference at 9-5, have non-conference games at Bates College on Saturday (12 p.m.) and Bowdoin College on Sunday (1 p.m.) prior to next week's LEC championship tournament.
In a pitchers' duel between Muchin and USM junior Dalton Rice (Waterford, Maine/Oxford Hills), Muchin (4-4) got the decision holding the Huskies to eight singles. Muchin did not walk a batter and plunked one while striking seven. Rice (2-2) took the loss allowing two runs on nine hits (all singles) and three walks while fanning eight in six-plus innings.
Muchin worked his way out of a one-out, bases loaded jam in the fifth getting a strikeout and a foul out to preserve a 1-0 lead. The Huskies put two aboard in the eighth with one out, but Muchin responded by inducing a foul out and striking out the next batter on a nasty breaking ball.
Rice, who struck out the side in the first, gave up a two-out, bases-loaded single to junior Ryan Hood (Arlington, Mass.) to put the Warrior ahead 1-0. Seniors D.J. Scavone (Auburn, Mass.) and Merlyn Herrera (La Yaquiza, D.R.) led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Rice retired the next two hitters before walking junior Dale Keller (Oxford, Conn.) to load the bases for Hood.
The Warriors picked up an insurance run in the seventh as the first three batters reached base against Rice on two walks sandwiching a single and ending Rice's day. Sophomore Colton Lawrence (Farmington, Maine/Mt. Blue) came on to limit the damage by getting Scavone to ground into double play that scored junior Alex White (West Hartford, Conn.) from third and the next batter on a fly ball.
Scavone and rookie Anthony Stigler (Mansfield, Conn.) had a pair of singles to lead the Warriors' nine-hit attack. Sophomore Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine) had two hits for the Huskies.
With the game tied 4-4 in the seventh inning, USM rookie Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine) turned on a pitch from senior Sam Kosterich (Stamford, Conn.) leading off the home half for his fifth home run of the season, and third in the last three games, to give the home side a 5-4 lead.
The lead lasted until junior Alex Parkos (Meriden, Conn.) yanked a pitch from USM junior closer Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) down the left-field line for his fifth homer.
Herrera and Stigler led off the EC ninth with back-to-back singles off Dexter. After a ground ball out moved the runners up 90 feet, the Huskies opted to intentionally walk junior Dale Keller (Oxford, Conn.) to set up a force at any base or potential inning-ending double play. Dexter induced a ground ball from rookie pinch hitter Jack Rich (Meriden, Conn.), but the Huskies were only able to get an out at second base as an errant relay throw to first allowed a second run to score on the play. After two walks reloaded the bases, the Huskies escaped further damage when Rich was tagged out by Dexter at home trying to score on a wild pitch.
With a two-run lead, Kosterich gave up just a two-out single in the ninth to close the door on his third win of the season. The right-hander, who came on in the third inning when junior left-handed starter Nick Rascati (Wallingford, Conn.) left the game, went the final seven innings giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk while striking out three.
Parkos went 3 for 4, including his home run, and Stigler was 2 for 4 at the dish for ECSU. Troiano was 3 for 4 with three RBI for USM. Sophomore Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) had two hits, including a double, and one RBI. Dexter was tagged with his third loss against four wins.
In the early innings, ECSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against USM sophomore starter Gage Feeney (Cutler, Maine/Washington Academy) on Stigler's two-run single.
USM responded against Rascati in the second to tie the game on Troiano's two-run single.
The Huskies took a 4-2 lead in the third on Olszak's RBI double and a passed ball that allowed Dexter score from third.
Eastern Conn. tied the game in the sixth when sophomore Jake LeFevre (Mansfield Center, Conn./Edwin O. Smith) walked to lead off the frame and Parkos followed with a double to left center putting runners at second and third. Consecutive ground ball outs from Scavone and Herrera were enough to score the two runs.
Prior to the start of the second game, the Huskies honored their three seniors - pitcher Bobby Delaney (Merrick, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial), pitcher Ryan Gaydou (Dartmouth, Mass.), and catcher and team captain Kyle Heath (Westbrook, Maine) - and veteran head coach Ed Flaherty who won his 1,000th career game on Wednesday.