APPLETON, Wis. — Freshman left-hander Tyler Leavitt pitched a complete-game four-hitter as the University of Southern Maine Huskies defeated the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Pointers, 8-1, in an elimination game of the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament Monday at Fox Cities Stadium.
The Huskies (45-9) advance to the final day of the tournament on Tuesday, needing two wins to capture their third national title.
The Huskies will play Ithaca (N.Y.) at noon in an elimination game. Both teams are 3-1 in the tourney. Ithaca beat previously unbeaten Linfield 6-4 later Monday evening.
The USM-Ithaca winner will meet 3-1 Linfield (Ore.) in the national championship game.
Leavitt (5-0) was masterful in allowing no earned runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out two. Over the final five innings, Leavitt gave up only one single and two walks. He retired eight in a row at one point and got out of a mini jam in the eighth with an inning-ending double play.
The Southern Maine bats came alive knocking out 11 base hits. Junior Matt Verrier led the attack going with an RBI double and a three-run homer. Senior Tucker White and juniors Chris Bernard and Troy Thibodeau each had two hits. White had three RBI, and Bernard scored two runs.
After UWSP took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, the Huskies responded with five runs in the home half of the inning. White tied the game with an RBI single to score rookie Sam Dexter from second base. Dexter led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior John Carey.
White scored the go ahead run, just beating the relay throw to the plate, on a double to left center by junior Forrest Chadwick. After Bernard was hit by a pitch, Verrier blasted the first pitch he saw from losing pitcher, junior Max Frederick, deep over the left-field wall for his third homer of the season and a 5-1 USM lead. Frederick was charged with five runs on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out one.
The Huskies tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning against UWSP junior reliever Brad Stroik. Thibodeau singled, Dexter walked, and Carey successfully moved the runners along with another sacrifice bunt. White delivered both runners with a single up the middle.
USM added its final run in the sixth inning when Bernard singled off Stroik, and Verrier greeted UWSP sophomore reliever Nick Prebelski with a double to left-center field.
UW-Stevens Point finished at 41-10.