Grady Powers Southern Maine Past UMass Boston, 9-4
MANSFIELD, Conn. – Sophomore cleanup
hitter Nick Grady (Whitefield, Maine) drove in three runs with a
solo home run and two-run triple to help lift fifth-seeded
University of Southern Maine to a 9-4 victory over second-seeded
and defending tournament champion University of Massachusetts
Boston Wednesday on the opening day of the 2011 Little East
Conference Baseball Tournament at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
With its eighth win in its last 11 games, Southern Maine (22-17) moves into a winners' bracket game Thursday at 7 p.m. against the winner of a late Wednesday night game between fourth-seeded Keene State College and third-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
A loser of five of its last seven, UMass Boston (18-21) needs a win Thursday at noon against top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University to remain alive in its quest to successfully defend its 2010 title. Southern Maine has won two LEC titles but none since 1999.
Facing UMass Boston left-handed junior ace James Dalton (Apopka, Fla.), Southern Maine erased an early 1-0 deficit by scoring twice in the second, then exploded from a 3-1 lead by batting around in the fifth and scoring five runs on five hits and two UMass errors. Grady's triple plated two and junior Anthony Pisani (Cheshire, Conn.), senior Mike Eaton (Sabattus, Maine) and sophomore Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H.) each drove in one. Pisani had a sacrifice fly, Eaton an infield single and White a suicide squeeze.
Senior righty Ben Ives (Portland, Maine), who started both of Southern Maine's one-run losses to UMass during the regular season, allowed four (earned) run on 12 hits before departing while the Beacons were scoring two runs in the eighth. Ives (2-3) fanned five and walked one.
Grady's sixth home run of the year leading off the second tied the game and the Huskies went ahead for good when White scored on a double-steal attempt when senior Jordan Berthiaume (Berlin, Conn.) was thrown out at second.
Batting third and fourth in the order, Eaton and Grady each had three hits and scored twice. UMass senior No.3 hitter Ryan Walsh (Newton, Mass.) had four of his team's hits and senior No. 9 hitter Dan Noonan (Westport, Mass.) drove in two runs – chasing Ives in the process.