GORHAM, Maine -- Salem State's eighth inning rally came up short as the #3-ranked University of Southern Maine Huskies held on to defeat the visiting Salem State University Vikings 6-5 in a non-conference baseball game Thursday afternoon at Ed Flaherty Field.
The win was the fifth straight, and 10th in the last 11 games, for the Huskies, improving their overall record to 26-5. The Vikings dropped their second straight to slide to 13-16 overall.
USM jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening inning stringing together four consecutive hits. Sophomore Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine) brought in the first run with a double to left-center field, and later scored on a single from senior Devin Warren(Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee).
A Salem State infield miscue in the third inning resulted in the Huskies scoring three unearned runs. Junior Dylan Hapworth(Winslow, Maine) brought in the first run with a fielder's choice. Seniors Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) and Jack Sylvia(Glastonbury, Conn.) followed with back-to-back RBI singles to make it 5-0.
Salem State finally broke through against USM starter James Sinclair (Portland, Maine/Deering) for a pair of runs in the fifth. Sinclair had cruised through the first four innings allowing just one hit.
A leadoff walk to sophomore Tim Catalano (Brewster, N.Y.) and back-to-back singles from rookies Luke Eggers (Duxbury, Mass.) and Christian Burt (Lynn, Mass.) produced the first run. After a sacrifice bunt moved Eggers and Burt to second and third, the Vikings got their second run on a ground out. Sinclair escaped further damage on a good defensive play by senior Jake Dexter(Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) on a slow roller,
In the sixth, the Vikings loaded the bases on three singles against junior reliever Colton Lawrence (Farmington, Maine/Mt. Blue). A Catalano ground out scored one run before Lawrence got the second out on a strikeout. A dropped foul ball, followed by an infield error on Burt's grounder resulted in an unearned run to make it 5-4. Senior left-hander Henry Curran (South Portland, Maine) came on to get the final out of the frame with a strikeout.
USM scored what proved to be the winning run in the seventh when Dexter doubled with one out, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hapworth's two-out single through the right side.
Curran, who struck out five consecutive Vikings after the first two batters reached in the seventh, gave up a two-out single to Burt and a walk to junior Pat Fitzgerald (Auburn, Mass.) in the eighth. Dexter was summoned from second base and surrendered an RBI single to sophomore Shawn Rebello (Bellingham, Mass.) to make it 6-5 before getting the final out on a strikeout.
Dexter retired the side in order in the ninth to record his seventh save of the season.
Southern Maine had 15 hits against four Salem State hurlers. Every starter in the lineup had at least one hit, led by Dexter and sophomore Jason Komulainen (Gorham, Maine) with three apiece. Sinclair earned his fourth win of the season going five innings. The right-hander gave up two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out six. USM's four pitchers combined to strike out 15 Salem State batters.
Rebello and Burt paced the Vikings' nine-hit attack with a pair of hits. Freshman southpaw starter John John Mondello(Gloucester, Mass.) took the loss after going just 2.2 innings. The Vikings' four pitchers used did not walk a batter in the game.
(Courtesy Southern Maine Sports Information)