Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Men’s baseball stays on top of LEC rankings

Erin Brown

Posted on April 22, 2017 in Sports
By USM Free Press

By: Erin Brown, Sports Editor

Number one seeded USM went into last Tuesday’s Little East Conference matchup against third seeded UMass Boston with a conference record of 6-0. Southern Maine continued on their perfect conference record with a 4-2 win over the Beacons. The victory extended the Huskies win streak to 11 games and their overall record improved to 18-7.

Pitcher Tom Fortier (Falmouth, ME / Falmouth) picked up his third win of the season after pitching eight innings for the Huskies. Fortier recorded seven strikeouts against the Beacons. Relieving Fortier in the ninth inning was Matt Correale (Peabody, MA / Peabody) and for the final batter second baseman Jake Dexter (Oakland, ME / Messalonskee) took the mound.

Pitching for the Beacons was opened up by Bryan Kaufman (Farmingdale, NY), who faced 24 batters in six innings. Fernando Burgos (Hyde Park, MA) came in to relieve Kaufman for the remaining innings.

In the top of the first, UMass Boston opened up the scoring when junior Chris Fowler (Barnstable, MA) hit a triple, allowing sophomore Kyle Boudrias (Medford, MA) to make it 1-0 for the Beacons.

Southern Maine rallied back in the second inning, scoring three runs to take the lead. With the bases loaded, sophomore Kip Richard (Kennebunk, ME / Kennebunk) hit a sacrifice fly ball, allowing senior Paul McDonough (Wells, ME / Wells) to run in from third base to even the score for the Huskies. Dexter advanced to third and Devin Warren (Smithfield, ME / Messalonskee) to second. The next batter up was Andrew Olszak (Danvers, MA / Danvers), who singled to the left side, allowing Dexter and Warren to both score, making it a 3-1 ballgame.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Huskies scored their final run of the afternoon. The first batter to stand at the plate for the Huskies, freshman outfielder Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, ME / Winslow) hit his seventh home run of the season for the Huskies, making it 4-1.

The ninth inning score that would put the Beacons within two runs of the Huskies came in an interesting fashion. With bases two and three occupied by runners, Correale walked Josh Lopez (New Haven, CT). With bases loaded, a pitch hit the next batter up, Danny Brown (Hudson, NH), sending Nick Herzog (Riverhead, NY) home to bring the score to 4-2.

With two outs for the Beacons, the Huskies sent second baseman Jake Dexter to the mound to relieve Correale. The first batter up against Dexter, Dan Mantoni (Northbridge, MA), struck out looking and the Huskies won their eleventh consecutive game.

The Huskies have had a standout season thus far in 2017. After winning seven out of 11 games played on their annual trip to Florida, the Huskies have only lost three games since returning home on March 29. With ten games remaining, and a perfect LEC record, the Huskies are looking to repeat their 2015 LEC Championship win.

The success of the Huskies has already been recognized a few times by the LEC with weekly awards and honors of individual players. Most recently, freshman outfielder Hapworth was recognized as both the player of the week and the rookie of the week in the LEC for the week of April 10-16. Hapworth has had an impressive rookie season, making appearances in 26 games for the Huskies. With a batting average of .420, the rookie has scored 35 runs, including seven home runs, and has tallied 31 RBI.

With Hapworth, eight other rookies and sophomore power houses like Jake Dexter, not only does the remainder of this season look promising for the Huskies, but seasons in the near future as well. The Huskies play at home Saturday, April 29 against sixth seeded Keene State College for a doubleheader at noon and 3 p.m. On Sunday, April 30, before their game against Western New England, the Huskies will celebrate the dedication of the USM baseball stadium and the 20th anniversary of the Huskies 1997 National Championship team.