#16 Southern Maine Comes from Behind to Defeat Bates 9-4

Senior Nick Grady went 3-for-5, including a triple, with two RBI as USM came from behind to defeat Bates College 9-4 on Wednesday.
Senior Nick Grady went 3-for-5, including a triple, with two RBI as USM came from behind to defeat Bates College 9-4 on Wednesday.

(Courtesy of Bates College Sports Information)

            LEWISTON, Maine -- The 16th-ranked University of Southern Maine Huskies erased a 4-0 deficit with three runs in the sixth inning, and six more in the seventh, to defeat the Bates College Bobcats 9-4 in a non-conference game Wednesday afternoon at Leahey Field.

            The Huskies rose to 31-6 with their sixth consecutive win, while the Bobcats dipped under the .500 mark settling at 15-16 with their second loss in a row.

            Bates led 4-0 and was outhitting USM 7-3 through five innings, but the tide turned in the sixth when USM took advantage of a pair of Bates errors and plated three unearned runs off of junior starting pitcher Tom Baroni (Mount Kisco, N.Y./Kennedy Catholic).  USM senior Anthony Pisani (Cheshire, Conn./Notre Dame) led off reaching on an error, and advancing to third when senior Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H./Coe-Brown Northwood) followed with a single to right.  Junior Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine) drove in Pisani with a single through the left side for the Huskies' first run.  After a double play stalled the rally, junior Chris Bernard's (Scarborough, Maine) fly ball was misplayed, allowing White to score and keep the inning alive.  Senior John Carey (South Portland, Maine) drove a single to center to score Bernard with USM's third run.

            USM freshman starter Dan Kinnon (Londonderry, N.H.) rebounded from a rocky first two innings to retire 10 in a row, including getting the side in order in the third, fourth and fifth.  After Kinnon walked rookie Samuel Warren (Norfolk, Va./Maury) to lead off the bottom of the sixth, sophomore right-hander Andrew Richards (South Portland, Maine) was summoned in relief, and Warren was promptly picked off of first base.  Senior Kevin McGregor (Randolph, N.J.) then doubled, but Richards got the next two Bobcats out to take USM to the top of the seventh.

            In the seventh, Baroni walked junior Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) and freshman Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) doubled down the left-field line to send Baroni to the showers.  Pisani greeted rookie reliever Connor Colombo (Mendon, Mass./Nipmuc Regional) with a hard single on his first pitch, and a misplay in center field allowed both runners to come home and Pisani to advance to second.  A passed ball, a hit-by-pitch and a balk kept the rally going for the Huskies and scored Pisani before a comebacker to the mound by Chadwick allowed Colombo to chalk up the first out.  Senior Nick Grady (Whitefield, Maine/Erskine Academy) followed with a triple into the gap in right center to score White, and Bernard followed with an RBI single scoring Grady.

            Colombo was replaced by senior Mike Antonellis (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) with the score 8-4 in USM's favor, one out and a runner on.  Bernard stole second base, made it to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Carey's RBI groundout before Antonellis ended the inning by inducing another ground ball.

            Richards (5-1) pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, and Antonellis did the same for Bates in the top of the eighth. USM freshman reliever Dylan Morris (Bangor, Maine) threw a perfect eighth inning, and junior Luke Hammond (Rangeley, Maine/Deering) and freshman Ryan Browner (Georgetown, Mass.) combined to hold the Bobcats scoreless and leave two runners on base in the ninth, preserving the win.

            Bates scored three runs in the first inning.  Senior Ryan Sonberg (Windsor, Conn./Suffield Academy) hit a one-out double down the left-field line and scored on rookie Sam Berry's (South Hamilton, Mass./Tabor Academy) two-out double to right center.  Sophomore Nate Pajka (Douglas, Mass.) and Warren then delivered back-to-back RBI singles to make it 3-0.  Bates got two additional singles in the inning, but Warren was thrown out at home plate trying to score.

            Berry, who finished 2-for-4, drove in his second run of the day in the second, scoring sophomore Mekae Hyde (Lewiston, Maine), who had walked and advanced to second on another walk issued to Sonberg.  McGregor and Berry were both 2-for-4 to lead Bates' eight-hit performance at the plate.

            Grady had three of the Huskies' 11 hits, while Chadwick was 2-for-5.  Pisani scored two runs and drove in two more, and Carey had two RBIs as well.

            Bates will host Colby College on Friday (4:00 p.m.).  Southern Maine hosts the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Friday (12:00 p.m.) for a Little East Conference doubleheader.