Yates Hurls USM Past Keene State 4-0

Senior Ryan Yates pitched 7.2 shutout innings as USM blanked Keene State 4-0 in Game Five of the LEC tournament on Thursday.
Senior Ryan Yates pitched 7.2 shutout innings as USM blanked Keene State 4-0 in Game Five of the LEC tournament on Thursday.

Yates Hurls Southern Maine Past Keene State 4-0 in LEC Tournament

            GORHAM, Maine -- Senior right-hander Ryan Yates (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) tossed 7.2 innings of three-hit shutout ball while striking out four to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies baseball team past the Keene State College Owls 4-0 in Game Five of the Little East Conference Tournament at USM Baseball Stadium Thursday afternoon.

            With the win, the Huskies improve to 35-7 overall and stay unbeaten at 2-0 in the LEC Tournament. The Huskies will play the winner of the game between Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Massachusetts Boston at 12:00 on Friday.  The ECSU-UMB game was halted due to darkness in the fifth inning with ECSU leading 9-0.  That game will be resumed at 9:30 a.m.

            The Owls drop to 18-23 overall and are eliminated from the six-team, double-elimination tournament.  The Owls lost their opening game in the tournament to Eastern Connecticut on Wednesday.

            Yates walked only two batters as he improved to 6-1 on the year.  The Owls only got one runner as far as third base against Yates, that coming in the fifth inning.  Yates gave way to sophomore Andrew Richards (South Portland, Maine) who got the final four outs giving up only one hit and striking out one.

            Freshman Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) led Southern Maine at the plate going 3-for-4 with an RBI double.  Senior John Carey (South Portland, Maine) was 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored, and senior Nick Grady (Whitefield, Maine/Erskine Maine) was 2-for-4 with an RBI triple. Junior Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) had a key RBI double and scored a run.

            Senior Greg Bates (Salem, N.H.), junior Andrew Gummow (Brookline, Mass.), and sophomores Ian Seawards (Dover, N.H.) and Tyler Estevez (East Hartford, Conn.) had one hit apiece for Keene State.  Freshman right-hander Alan Shiff (East Hartford, Conn.), who pitched 4.1 solid innings giving up two earned runs on five hits, was tagged with the loss and drops to 1-1 on the year.

            Yates and Shiff cruised through the first four innings, as each didn't allow a base runner past second base.

            The Huskies finally broke through with two runs in the fifth inning thanks to timely hitting. After Carey singled to lead off the inning, Thibodeau lined a double to right center to bring around Carey and give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.  Thibodeau then advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI double to left by Dexter giving Yates a two-run cushion.

            The Huskies tacked on another run in the sixth to increase the lead to 3-0.  Junior Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine) roped a double down the right field line to lead off the inning.  Grady tripled to right field to bring around Chadwick. It was Grady's team-leading 52nd RBI of the year.  The Owls were able to halt any further scoring by the Huskies as senior right-hander Spencer Hutchinson (Broad Brook, Conn./East Windsor) — who replaced Shiff in the fifth — was able to get three straight ground outs to escape the inning.

            Southern Maine added a single insurance run with two outs in the eighth on back-to-back doubles by senior Chris Bernard (Scarborough, Maine) and Carey to take a 4-0 lead.

            Richards got the first batter he faced to ground into a fielder's choice to end the eighth, and retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth on a ground out, fly out, and strikeout to end the game.

Game Four

Boff Leads UMass Dartmouth Past Western Connecticut 2-1

            GORHAM, Maine -- Junior right-hander Karney Boff (Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) pitched eight innings of two-hit ball while striking out a season-high nine to lead the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Corsairs past the Western Connecticut State University Colonials, 2-1, in an elimination game of the Little East Conference Tournament at USM Baseball Stadium Thursday morning.

            With the win, the Corsairs improve to 16-22 and advance to Game Eight of the tournament against the loser of Game Six between Eastern Connecticut State University and University of Massachusetts Boston, which was halted Thursday evening due to darkness. Western finishes the season 17-23 with the loss and is eliminated from the double-elimination tournament.

            Boff, who gave up one earned run and walked only one, improves to 1-3. Sophomore George Aggostini (Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) and freshman Connor Shaw (Goffstown, N.H.) each had two hits and scored the runs to lead UMass Dartmouth offensively. Sophomore Ryan Medeiros (Acushnet, Mass./New Bedford) also had two hits, and sophomore Alex Newton (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) had an RBI single.  Senior Tyler White (Westport, Mass.) relieved Boff in the ninth to earn his first save of the season.

            Senior Conor Bierfeldt (Torrington, Conn.) hit a solo home run — his ninth homer of the season — to account for the Western Connecticut's lone run.  Senior Chris Smith (Monroe, Conn./Notre Dame-Fairfield) had a single for the Colonials other hit.  Senior Chris Alberto (Trumbull, Conn./Notre Dame-Fairfield), who pitched eight innings giving up two runs (one earned) on nine hits while striking out seven, was tagged with the loss and drops to 5-3 on the season.

            Bierfeldt gave Western an early 1-0 with his solo shot to left with two outs in the top of the first. After Bierfeldt homered, Boff retired the next eight batters he faced.

            The Corsairs scored twice with two outs in the sixth to go up 2-1.  Shaw led off the inning with a single, and Aggostini followed with another single down the right field line.  Shaw advanced to third and Aggostini advanced to second on a Western Connecticut error on the play.  After a ground out, Newton then singled to drive in Shaw tying the score.  Alberto got a strikeout for the second out, but senior Corey Allison (Taunton, Mass./Coyle-Cassidy) reached on Western Connecticut error that allowed Aggostini to score from third.

            After Western Conn. junior Bobby Coyne (Clinton, Conn./The Morgan School) reach on a fielder's choice in the fourth inning, Boff retired the next 12 batters he faced before giving up a walk to sophomore James Russell (Darien, Conn.) with two outs in the eighth.

            White sat Western down in order in the ninth for the save.