GORHAM, Maine - Second-seeded UMass Boston and fifth-seeded UMass Dartmouth will square off Sunday with the 2019 Little East Conference (LEC) title on the line after eliminating top-seeded Southern Maine and fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut Saturday at USM's Ed Flaherty Field. The Huskies survived an elimination game against third-seeded Rhode Island College to open the day's competition.
No. 1 Southern Maine 3, No. 3 Rhode Island College 1 – Box Score
The second-ranked Huskies (34-6) came out on top in a pitcher's duel between USM junior Ben Lambert and Rhode Island College (26-16) junior Tyler Shemick. Lambert yielded on unearned run while scattered 10 hits and fanning seven batters over his eight innings of work to run his record to 9-0, while Shemick yielded three runs on 11 hits with four Ks over his eight innings in a complete-game effort as his record fell to 2-4. Senior Henry Curran earned his second save after recording three quick outs in the ninth for the Huskies.
Southern Maine jumped out in front in the bottom of the first as junior Andrew Hillier went home on sophomore Sam Troiano's ground out to second, and senior Zach Quintal scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the second on sophomore Jason Komulainen's single to right. Quintal headed home again in the sixth as freshman Arlo Pike lifted a sac-fly to center.
The Anchormen got their lone run of the contest in the top of the seventh, when sophomore Joseph Coro crossed the plate as junior Ryan Rotondo grounded out to shortstop. Rhode Island College had a number of quality scoring chances but were unable to take advantage. The Anchormen stranded runners on the corners in the third and fifth, and left the bases loaded in the eighth. They loaded the bases to start 6th before Lambert got junior Sam Franco to ground into a double play and freezing junior Rommy Morel to leave runners at second and third.
Southern Maine also had chances to tack on more runs, but twice stranded runners on first and second and left runners on the corners in the fifth and sixth.
No. 5 UMass Dartmouth 5, No. 4 Eastern Connecticut 2 – Box Score
Senior Jack Harrington got UMass Dartmouth (19-20) on the board with his solo homer in the bottom of the fifth and the Corsairs took the lead for good with a two-run seventh. Junior Nate Tellier drove in classmate Mike Knell with his single to left before coming around to score on senior Pat Vartanian's double down the left field line. An error led to two more runs in the eight for the 5-3 final.
Eastern Connecticut (23-18) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a pair of runs scored in the top of the second on senior Alexander White's double to the gap in left center, but was unable to hang on. The Warriors had a pair of quality scoring threats in the final two innings, but left a pair of runners on in the eight before leaving the bases loaded in the ninth.
Senior Matt Cronin (4-3) earned the decision for the Corsairs after scattering four hits with three strikeouts over his 6.1 innings of relief, while Tellier picked up his eighth save of the year after recoding the final two outs of the game.
Senior Cole Ogorzalek (2-1) was credited with the loss for the Warriors after giving up two runs on three hits in his 1.2 innings of relief. Sophomore Zach Player got the start for Eastern Connecticut and was lifted after allowing one run on four hits over the opening 4.2 innings.
No. 2 UMass Boston 2, No. 1 Southern Maine 0 – Box Score
Three UMass Boston (29-11) pitchers combined for a six-hit shutout of 2019 LEC regular season champion Southern Maine (34-7), totaling 12 strikeouts to just a pair of walks in the contest. Freshman Dylan Fashempour improved to 5-2 for the season after striking out eight batters over his 6.2 innings of work. senior Joe Maguire fanned the only batter he faced to close the seventh before giving way to classmate Bobby Tramondozzi, who punched out three batters over the final two frames for his 10th save of the year.
The Beacons scored the only run they would need in the bottom of the second when junior Danny Brown went home on fellow junior Ryan McCormick's RBI-single up the middle. McCormick drove in UMass Boston's second run two innings later, plating classmate Anthony Cecere with a single to center.
Dalton Rice fell to 1-3 for Southern Maine after allowing two runs on two hits and two walks in his 3.1 innings of work. Curran allowed just two hits while striking out five batters over the remaining 4.2 innings, giving the Huskies a chance at a potential comeback.
Southern Maine had chances to score throughout the contest, but left 11 runners on base, seven of which were in scoring position. The had runners on first and second with two outs in each of the final three innings, only to see Quintal strike out swinging to end the seventh, senior Jake Dexter fly-out to left to end the eighth and junior Andrew Olszak strike out looking to end the game.
Day Four Schedule
Game 10: No. 2 UMass Boston vs. No. 5 UMass Dartmouth (home), 11 a.m.
Game 11: If necessary
- UMass Boston is looking to win its third consecutive LEC tournament title, and its fourth in program history.
- UMass Dartmouth is in search of its second-ever LEC tournament title. Its first win was in 2000.
- This will mark the second meeting between the two programs in the LEC tournament's championship round; the first saw UMass Boston come out on top in 2017.
- UMass Boston has won the LEC title in each of its previous three trips to the championship round, while UMass Dartmouth is 1-for-5 in its championship round appearances.