Providence, R.I.- Southern Maine senior pitcher Andrew Richards came out of the bullpen to pick up a win and a save to lead the Huskies to a sweep of Rhode Island College in Little East Conference baseball action played at Anchorman Field on Saturday afternoon.
RIC (12-7, 3-3 LEC) lost game one, 9-5, and USM (14-6, 4-2 LEC) held off a late rally to win the nightcap, 9-6.
The Huskies, who were the home team in both contests, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first in game one. With runners on first and second and one down, sophomore designated hitter Paul McDonough (Wells, ME) was ruled out by virtue of an infield fly call. RIC junior catcher Matt Foley (Seekonk, MA) lost the ball in the sun and threw down to third. An eventual Anchorman throwing error allowed junior right fielder Nick DiBiase (Portland, ME) to score.
USM broke out in the second as DiBiase’s two-run single and McDonough’s bases loaded clearing double staked the Huskies to a 6-0 advantage. Southern Maine then increased its lead to 7-0 by scoring on a throwing error in the third.
RIC tried to bounce back with three runs in the fourth. With two aboard and no outs, Foley’s RBI single and subsequent USM error allowed junior shortstop Ryan O’Dell (Lincoln, RI) and junior left fielder Joe Yankee (Lincoln, RI) to both score. Foley then came across on senior right fielder Patrick Rogers’ (Waterford, CT) RBI groundout to make it a 7-3 ballgame.
The Anchormen climbed within a pair, 7-5, after a two-run fifth. Three consecutive singles to lead off the frame loaded the bases, before USM junior starter Shyler Scates (Jefferson, ME) picked up a strikeout and a pop out. Foley smacked a two-run single down the left field line before Richards was summoned from the bullpen to limit the damage.
USM tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on sophomore second baseman Jake Welch’s (Londonderry, NH) one out solo homer. Welch helped secure another run in the eighth after being hit by a pitch with two away. He stole second and promptly scored on freshman center fielder Devin Warren’s (Smithfield, ME) RBI single.
Richards earned the win (6-2), hurling 4.1 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed just three hits and struck out two. RIC senior starter Dylan Cummiskey (Warwick, RI) took the loss (3-1), allowing six earned runs on eight hits in 6.0 innings.
The Anchormen took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first in game two by loading the bases with two down and scoring on a wild pitch. The Huskies stormed right back in the home half of the frame by putting up five runs. Sophomore left fielder Damon Wallace (Gorham, ME) ripped a three-run homer and Welch followed two batters later with a two-run shot to give USM a 5-1 advantage.
Junior shortstop Sam Dexter (Oakland, ME) picked up an RBI in the second on a grounder to third.
RIC loaded the bases in the third and got one run back on a Yankee sacrifice fly before USM junior starter Tyler Leavitt (North Andover, MA) pitched his way out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Huskies answered back in the bottom of the frame to go up, 7-2, as Wallace singled with two down, stole second and crossed home on DiBiase’s RBI triple to center field. McDonough led off the fourth with a double and later scored on a Welch sacrifice fly as USM’s lead increased to 8-2.
The Anchormen mounted a rally in the fifth as freshman second baseman Shaun Vigeant (Coventry, RI) doubled and moved over to third on freshman center fielder Brad Douglas’ (Wakefield, RI) single. O’Dell brought in Vigeant with a sacrifice fly, but Leavitt got a big ground ball double play to stem the tide. However, USM got the run right back with an RBI single from Warren in the fifth.
RIC again tried to close the gap in the top of the eighth as Foley and senior third baseman Tyler Santaniello (Cumberland, RI) singled and then came home on junior first baseman Angelo St. Laurent’s (Cranston, RI) two out, three-run homer to pull within three, 9-6. USM turned to Richards, who came on to close out the frame by getting a fly out and hurled a scoreless ninth to pick up his second save.
Leavitt threw 7.1 innings and struck out 11 to earn his first win (1-1) of the year. O’Dell took the loss (1-1).
DiBiase batted .714 (5-for-7) with three runs scored, a double, triple and three RBI. Welch went 2-for-6 with three runs scored, two bombs and four RBI. Warren went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBI.
O’Dell led RIC, batting .625 (5-for-8) with two runs scored and an RBI. Foley and St. Laurent each knocked in three. Vigeant went 3-for-9 with three runs scored.
In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference action at home against UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, April 14 (3:30 p.m.).