|Rhode Island College||University of Southern Maine|
GORHAM, Maine — Senior left-hander Tyler Leavitt (North Andover, Mass.) pitched six strong innings and the University of Southern Maine bats came alive in the latter innings as the Huskies defeated the Rhode Island College Anchormen 8-4 in an elimination game of the 2017 Little East Conference Baseball Championship Tournament Thursday at Ed Flaherty Field.
The Huskies’ win snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their overall record to 29-10, and 1-1 in the tournament. The Anchormen finished the season at 17-19 overall, and 0-2 in the tournament. Southern Maine’s next opponent will be determined by the results of games to by played today.
Rhode Island College, playing as the home team, took a 2-0 lead against Leavitt in the first inning getting four singles. Senior Nate Cahoone (Westerly, R.I.) had a two-out, bases-loaded single to drive in two and give the Anchormen the lead. A base-running mistake on the play resulted in the third out of the inning.
Down 2-0 heading into the fifth inning, the Huskies’ bats came alive to produce eight runs over the next four innings. In the fifth, senior Matt Bender (Walpole, Mass.) led off the frame with a double and came around to score on two ground ball outs. USM tied the scored when sophomore Kip Richard (Kennebunk, Maine) stroked his first career home run to right field.
Bender had a big hand in the Huskies’ three-run sixth inning uprising. Freshman Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) singled with one out, and sophomore Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) walked. Bender then slammed a home run to left field that put the Huskies up 5-2.
USM offense produced two more runs in the seventh. Sophomore Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine) walked and came around to score on Olszak’s triple down the right field line. Olszak scored when Quintal lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.
Leavitt cruised the fifth and sixth innings, and had retired eight in a row going into the seventh. A walk to freshman Nate Vigeant (Coventry, R.I./St. Raphael) and a single by classmate Josh Silva (Seekonk, Mass./Providence Country Day) ended the senior southpaw’s day and put the game in the hands of the Huskies’ bullpen.
Sophomore Matt Correale (Peabody, Mass.) came on to surrender a single to sophomore Mike Webb (Pawtucket, R.I./) to load the bases, and a two-run double to freshman Rommy Morel (Providence, R.I./Central). Correale got out of the inning by striking out the next two RIC batters and getting a fly ball to center field.
USM picked up an insurance run in the eighth to make it 8-4 as Dexter singled with two outs, stole second and scored on a single by sophomore Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee).
RIC loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but Dexter was summoned from second base and with one pitch got a ground ball out to end the threat.
Olszak paced the Huskies’ 14-hit attack going 4 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Bender had a double, home run and three RBI. Richard had three hits, including his first homer.
Leavitt pitched into the seventh inning allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out four en route to his fourth win of the season. Dexter going the final 1 1/3 innings to pick up his 10th save of the season.
Webb, Morel and Cahoone had two hits apiece for the Anchormen. RIC starting pitcher Daniel Greaves (Warwick, R.I./Veterans Memorial) was saddled with his fifth loss of the season against three wins. The junior right-hander gave up five runs on 10 hits and four walks while striking out five over 5 2/3 innings.