Southern Maine Rallies in 7th Inning to Defeat Wheaton 6-4

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Southern Maine Rallies in 7th to Defeat Wheaton 6-4

            GORHAM, Maine -- Freshman Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine) hit a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to ignite a three-run rally as the University of Southern Maine Huskies came from behind to defeat the visiting Wheaton College Lyons 6-4 in non-conference baseball action Thursday afternoon at Ed Flaherty Field.

            The win was the fourth straight for the Huskies who improve to 22-8 on the season and moves veteran head coach Ed Flaherty within four wins of becoming the 11th coach in NCAA Division III history to reach 1,000 career wins.  The Lyons fall to 20-14 with the loss.

            After squandering a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh when the Lyons scored twice to take a 4-3 lead, Troiano came up and hit his second home run of the year to the left of the scoreboard to tie the game at 4-4.

            The Huskies weren't done as sophomore Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine) walked and moved to second on a line single to left by sophomore Andrew Hillier (Bangor, Maine).  Junior Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) brought both around to score with a double to right-center field and give USM a 6-4 lead.

            Juniors Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) and Henry Curran (South Portland, Maine) shut down the Lyons in the final two innings to preserve the win.  Dexter got his fourth win of the season going two innings giving up an unearned run on two hits  and striking out one.  Curran earned his first save of the season pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

            The Huskies took a 3-0 lead in the second inning taking advantage of some poor outfield play by the Lyons.  Sophomore Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) led off the frame with a single, and came all the way around to score when classmate Anthony Degifico's (South Portland, Maine) single was misplayed in the outfield for an error allowing Olszak to score.  Degifico came in when senior Kyle Heath (Westbrook, Maine) singled and the ball was misplayed again in the outfield.  Heath moved to third when Troiano's fly ball was dropped for the third error of the inning.  Hapworth drove in Heath with a sacrifice fly.

            Wheaton chipped away at the deficit getting two runs in the fifth.  Junior Willy Boyd (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) led off with a single and moved to third on an errant pickoff attempt.  Junior Jimmy Gianquitti (Scituate, R.I.) brought Boyd in with a sacrifice fly to left field.  Senior Matt Cook (Harwich, Mass.) then bunted his way on and scored on a double by senior Chris Ruocco (Lexington, Mass.).

            The Lyons took the lead in the seventh as Gianquitti and Cook singled to start the inning.  Dexter came on to surrender an RBI single to sophomore Nick Raposo (Johnston, R.I.) to tie the score.  The Lyons took a 4-3 lead on junior Jared Sharkey's (West Bridgewater, Mass.) ground out to shortstop allowed Ruocco to score.  Hillier made two outstanding defensive plays in the inning getting a force out at home and picking a bad throw at first base to end the inning.

            Both teams had 11 hits in the game.  Hillier and Dexter were the lone repeat hitters for USM.  Raposo had three hits, including a triple, for the Lyons.  Cook, Ruocco, Sharkey and Gianquitti had two hits apiece.

            Senior reliever Brady Furdon (Natick, Mass.) was saddled with the loss for Wheaton after allowing three runs on four hits and a walk.  He did not strike out a batter.

            Southern Maine is back in action on Saturday (12 p.m.) traveling to Keene State College for a Little East Conference doubleheader.  Wheaton is at Western New England University for a single game tomorrow (4 p.m.).