Baseball Splits at Southern Maine, Earns Tournament Berth

GORHAM, ME-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's baseball team is back in the Little East Conference Tournament.

The Corsairs clinched a post-season berth when they earned a split of their doubleheader against host Southern Maine by winning the second game, 9-4, at the USM Baseball Stadium Friday. The Huskies took the opener, 16-3 in seven innings. The game ended early due to the LEC's 10-run rule.

In the nightcap, the Corsairs scored six times in the top of the first inning and led all the way. Senior catcher Matt Worden (New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS) and sophomore first baseman Alex Newton (Saco, ME/Thornton Academy/Franklin Pierce) each singled with the bases loaded in the first to drive in a run, and sophomore shortstop Nate Farias (Fall River, MA/Durfee HS) doubled with the bases loaded to drive in three more and make it 5-0. Farias scored on a single by junior right fielder Wayne Bolz (Billerica, MA/Billerica Memorial HS) that capped the rally.

The Huskies got a run in the bottom of the second on catcher Matt Verrier's sacrifice fly. UMD got one in the top of the fifth on a double play grounder, another in the sixth on freshman left fielder Connor Shaw's (Goffstown, NH/Goffstown HS) RBI double, and one more in the seventh on a run-scoring single by senior designated hitter Tyler White (Westport, MA/Westport HS/Massasoit CC). Right fielder Troy Thibodeau's solo homer and an RBI single by left fielder Tucker White allowed Southern Maine to cut the lead to 9-3 in the last of the seventh. Center fielder Forrest Chadwick homered in the bottom of the ninth for the game's final run.

Sophomore left-hander Nick Fuller (New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS) pitched the first seven innings and earned the win, improving his record to 3-5. Ryan Yates started for Southern Maine and took the loss, falling to 5-1.

In the opener, the Huskies scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and led throughout. Third baseman Nick Grady keyed the inning with a three-run double. Thibodeau had a two-run single in a three-run USM third, and Verrier doubled home three runs in a six-run fourth.

For the Corsairs, Worden singled in the second and subsequently scored on an error, then hit a two-run homer in the sixth. Logan Carman pitched the first five innings and earned the win for Southern Maine, improving to 9-0, while junior right-hander Karney Boff (Dighton, MA/Dighton-Rehoboth HS) started and took the loss for UMD, falling to 0-3.

"The last few weeks, we showed our resiliency in a backs against the wall kind of game," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Bob Prince. "It's a couple of weeks in a row that we pulled out the back end of a doubleheader against a top 10 team. It shows that we can go out and play with anybody. Once again, it came down to pitching well , playing sold defense and getting the timely hits, Nick Fuller pitched very well, and (freshman) Matt Russell (Townsend, MA/North Middlesex HS) came in and closed the door. We had a plan; we executed, and did a nice job. It's nice to control our own destiny, as opposed to hoping things fall into place for us."

The Corsairs are now 15-21 and 6-8 in the Little East Conference, while Southern Maine is now 32-7 and 12-2 in LEC play. Both teams will return to action Wednesday, when the LEC Tournament begins at Southern Maine.


                                                          UMASS DARTMOUTH BASEBALL