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Huskies Starts Strong, Hold Off Corsairs

MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Five different batters combined to drive in six runs to spark the University of Southern Maine to an early lead, the Nick Hahn (Guilford, Conn.) pitched 5 2/3 innings of stellar relief to preserve the lead and give the sixth-seeded Huskies a 9-7 win that eliminated fifth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth from the 2010 Little East Conference baseball tournament Thursday night at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

In the first meeting between the programs in this tournament in four years, Southern Maine (20-20-1) remains alive after a tournament-opening loss to No. 1 Eastern Connecticut and will play an elimination game Friday at 4:30 p.m. against an opponent not yet determined. UMass Dartmouth (20-19), which did not qualify for the double-elimination round of last year’s LEC tournament, had lost a 6-1 decision earlier in the day to No. 2 Keene State College. The Corsairs conclude their season with seven losses in their final nine games.

After the Huskies chased UMD freshman starter Karney Boff (Dighton, Mass.) in the third to take their 7-0 lead, the Corsairs battled back with three in the third and three in the fourth, knocking out starter Collin Henry (Penobscot, Maine) in place of Hahn. Hahn straned two runners in the fourth to preserve Southern Maine’s 7-6 lead and didn’t surrender a run and only three hits before UMass made a ninth-inning bid. Down 9-6, the Corsairs scored once on two singles and a walk. Hahn went to a full count on the final three batters of the game, finally getting Anthony Fiorita (North Reading, Mass.) on a ground ball to short to end the game.

Hahn (4-3) gave up only five hits and three walks while fanning three, gaining credit for his team’s win over UMass for the second time this season.

Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H.) and Henry both drove in two runs for the Huskies and the top three hitters in the order – Roberto Valenti (Lawrence, Mass.), Anthony Pisani (Cheshire, Conn.) and Mike Eaton (Sabattus, Maine) each scored two runs and combined for five hits.

UMass collected 14 hits – nine against Henry in less than four innings. John Granahan (Hanover, Mass.) had three hits and drove in four of his team’s runs with a two-run double in the third and a two-run single in the fourth.

southern Maine has beaten UMass Dartmouth the last three times the teams have met in the tournament to assume a 5-4 lead in the tournament series.