|UMass Dartmouth||University of Southern Maine|
GORHAM, Maine — Sophomore right-hander Dalton Rice (Waterford, Maine) struck out 11 and sophomore Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) drove in three runs with a double and a home run to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 9-1 victory over the visiting University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Corsairs in the first game of the teams Little East Conference doubleheader Thursday afternoon at Ed Flaherty Field.
The victory clinched the LEC regular-season title for the Huskies, and they will host the 2017 championship tournament that starts next Wednesday (May 10). USM has won or shared the LEC regular-season title 12 times in the 21 seasons of LEC baseball. Seedings and the tournament schedule will be announced later tonight after all games have been completed.
In the nightcap, the Corsairs scored a run in the eighth inning on rookie Mike Knell’s (Dennis, Mass./Dennis Yarmouth) double that snapped a 3-3 tie and held on for a 4-3 victory.
The split left the Huskies with a final regular-season record of 28-9 overall and 12-2 in LEC play. The Corsairs completed the season 22-18 and 9-5 in conference play. UMD will be the third seed in the upcoming tournament.
The Corsairs grabbed a 3-0 lead in the third inning before the Huskies posted single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to create a 3-3 tie.
In the eighth, UMD sophomore Erick Ramirez (Boston, Mass./Cambridge Rindge & Latin) singled with one out, and came all the way around to score when Knell greeted Dexter, who relieved sophomore Matt Correale (Peabody, Mass.), for double down the left-field line.
USM put two runners on with one out in the eighth against rookie hurler Robbie Carrillo (Melrose, Mass./Bishop Fenwick), but were unable to get the tying run home.
In the ninth, USM senior Matt Bender (Walpole, Mass.), in a pinch hitting role, was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and later stole second with two outs. UMD freshman reliever Nate Tellier (Attleboro, Mass.), who came on to start the ninth, got the final out on a fly ball to the outfield.
Earlier in the game, the Corsairs struck for three in the third on a two-run single by Ramirez and a sacrifice fly from Knell.
USM got on the board in the fifth on Olszak’s fielder’s choice ground out. Senior Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) drove in a run in the sixth with a double. The Huskies tied the game in the seventh when Olszak’s single was misplayed in the outfield for an error allowing Hillier to score.
Ramirez and rookie Mitch Baker (Braintree, Mass.) had two hits apiece for the Corsairs in the nightcap. Carrillo picked up his second win of the season with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Tellier, who has not allowed a hit this season in six relief appearances (6 1/3 innings), earned his first save.
McDonough was the Huskies lone repeat hitter with a double and a single. Correale was the tough-luck loser after pitching 4 1/3 innings in relief. The southpaw was charged with the one run allowing four hits and he did not walk a batter. Correale struck out four.