GORHAM, Maine - Third-ranked University of Southern Maine hit four homers and piled on runs in the middle innings of both games while sweeping a conference doubleheader from the Keene State College baseball team by scores of 12-2 and 10-2 on Saturday afternoon at Ed Flaherty Field.
- Keene State: 7-16, 2-6 LEC
- No. 3 Southern Maine: 19-4, 8-2 LEC
How It Happened - Game One
Keene State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, but then watched USM run away by scoring eight times in the fourth, capped by a grand slam, and two more in each of the next two frames. The Owls managed three singles, one each from Connor Longley, John Tarascio, and David Sevigny. Sevigny and Mac Struthers drove in KSC's runs. Andrew Hillier hit the Huskies' grand slam and five others had two hits.
After neither team scored in the first two innings, the Owls broke through in the top of the third. Tyler Gammie walked to lead off the inning and Ryan Linehan followed by reaching on a fielder's choice where no outs were recorded. A single from Sevigny then delivered a KSC run. Tom Meucci's sacrifice bunt which moved two runners into scoring position was the first out of the frame, and the next batter, Mac Struthers, made it a 2-0 Owls lead with a sac fly to right. Shawn O'Donnell registered a shutdown inning in the bottom of the third, and KSC had a chance to add to the lead in the fourth after Longley and Tarascio singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out, but that rally fizzled. Southern Maine took the lead and blew the game open in the bottom of the fourth. Three of the first four reached on singles, and the first run scored on a KSC error. Base hits from Jack Sylvia and Andrew Olszak put USM in front 3-2, and the very next batter Hiller scored four more with a grand slam. The Owls never threatened again, as the Huskies received a two-run blast from Zach Quintal in the fifth, and Devin Warren did the same in the next inning.
O'Donnell fell to 3-2 after pitching the first 3 1/3 innings. Gage Feeney (3-1) allowed two runs in five innings while striking out two for USM.
How It Happened - Game Two
The middle innings again victimized Keene State in the second game, as USM turned a 3-1 game into a runaway with three runs in the fifth and four in the seventh. Gammie and Meucci each went 1-for-4 with an RBI, while Tarascio also contributed a single. Jake Dexter barely missed the cycle for Southern Maine, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple, home run, and five RBIs. Sam Troiano had three hits and Sylvia drove in three.
USM took the lead in their first turn at the plate, as Troiano and Dexter stroked consecutive doubles with two outs, and later made it 3-0 in the fourth when they did the same thing again courtesy of Dylan Hapworth and Quintal. Sylvia followed with an RBI single. A double play got KSC out of further trouble, and the Owls did get on the board in the fifth with a two-out run after Sam Czel was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and later scored on Meucci's base hit, which was the Owls' first of the game. However, Southern Maine immediately answered in their half of the inning. Hillier and Troiano singled before both advanced on a wild pitch. Dexter then cranked a three-run home run over the fence to make it 6-1. A four-run seventh all but put the game away for USM, as Dexter was at it again, tripling before scoring on a wild pitch. A two-out double from Sylvia later in the frame made it 10-1. Keene State set the final margin with a run and two hits in the ninth.
Brandon Heath (1-3) allowed four runs in four innings and struck out two while taking the loss. Joshua Joy improved to 2-1 for USM after allowing one run and one hit in five innings. He walked one and struck out two.
Around the Horn
- Tarascio's pair of singles on the day helped him surpass 100 career hits. He is hitting a team-best .314 among qualified players this season.
- After completing half of their own conference schedule, Keene State sits one game out of the sixth and final playoff spot which is currently occupied by Eastern Connecticut State University (4-6). Plymouth State University is 3-5 and in seventh.
- Keene State hosts New England College on Tuesday, April 16 at 3:30 pm.
- Southern Maine saw their Sunday contest against Wheaton College (Mass.) get postponed. The Huskies will next host UMass Boston on Tuesday, April 16 at 3:00 pm. The Beacons won the first matchup 7-3.