After a slew of cancellations and rescheduled games over the last three days, the USM baseball team finally was able to take the field at the Wainwright Complex in South Portland, losing to Salem State 8-2 in cold and windy conditions.
Salem State took advantage of two errors, a hit batsman and seven hits in the top of the third inning, exploding for eight runs which proved to be all they needed.
The inning was highlighted by a leadoff double and a bases-clearing triple by freshman first basemen Matt Burgess, and two RBI doubles by senior outfielder Evan Valcourt as the Vikings sent twelve batters to the plate against USM freshman southpaw Logan Carman (Newfields, N.H.).
Salem State got the scoring started when Burgess doubled to lead off the third and Valcourt hit the first of his two third inning RBI doubles to drive in Burgess. Junior catcher Erik Juncker then singled, advancing Valcourt to third.
From there the Huskies’ defense made some crucial mistakes that the Vikings took full advantage of. Carman overthrew first basemen Nick Grady (Whitefield) after fielding a bunt by sophomore infielder Kevin Salines, sophomore Chris Cocci reached on a dropped fly ball by USM centerfielder Roberto Valenti scoring Juncker, and senior shortstop Ryan Kane hit an RBI single to make the score 4-0 with one out. Carman then hit junior Geury Alonzo and Burgess hit his triple two batters later before Valcourt drove in the Viking’s eighth run on his second RBI double of the inning. Five of the Salem’s eight runs in the inning were unearned.
The Huskies got one back in the bottom of the fourth when senior captain Josh Mackey (Danvers, Mass.) walked and stole second, then scored off an RBI single by sophomore outfielder Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H.). USM made a bid for another comeback in the bottom of the ninth when freshman outfielder Charlie Partridge (Augusta) hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring White, but Salem sophomore pitcher Cory Collins got USM pinch hitter Brett Barrett to fly out to center for the final out.
Besides the offense, the key to Salam State’s victory was the performance of Collins, who pitched a complete game, giving up six hits while striking out five and walking two.
A high note for the Huskies was the relief work of USM sophomore righthander Ryan Yates (Norway), who came in for Carman with two outs in the third. Yates went 5 1/3 innings, holding the Vikings to only three hits, while striking out six and walking only one. Senior catcher Jordan Berthiaume (Berlin, Conn.) had a pair of hits as well.
The Huskies will be back in action on Saturday when they’ll travel to Eastern Connecticut State for a Little East Conference doubleheader starting at noon.