April 1, 2012



Providence, R.I.-Freshman right fielder Dean Grasso (Cranston, RI) went 3-for-8 with two runs scored, a homer (2), four RBI and a stolen base, while senior reliever Eric Blanchard (Warwick, RI) earned his third win (3-0), as Rhode Island College won game two, 10-8, over Southern Maine in Little East Conference baseball action played at Anchorman Field on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies won game one, 6-3.


The Anchormen see their record improve to 11-8 overall and 1-1 in the LEC action, while the Huskies remain at .500 with an 8-8 overall mark and a 1-1 record in league play.



 Senior reliever Eric Blanchard


In game one, it was the visiting Huskies that drew first blood in the top of the first inning when an RBI triple from junior first baseman Nick Grady (Whitefield, ME) scored senior left fielder David Ricker (Winthrop, MA) and gave USM a 1-0 lead. The Huskies quickly made it, 2-0, after Grady was driven home on a bunt infield single from sophomore center fielder Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, ME).


Southern Maine added another run in the second stanza after an RBI double from freshman right fielder Jake Glauser (Goffstown, NH) scored sophomore catcher Matt Verrier (Norway, ME) and made it, 3-0. However, RIC sophomore starting pitcher C.J. Tsoumakas (Hope, RI) settled down to keep the Huskies off the scoreboard for the next three frames.


USM senior starting pitcher Ben Ives (Portland, ME) was in a rhythm on the other end, keeping the Anchormen in check through the first four innings. However, in the bottom of the fifth, Grasso belted a solo home run (2) to get Rhode Island College on the board and make it a two-run ballgame. Senior second baseman Joan Mustafa (Providence, RI) immediately followed with a one-out double to left field, and two batters later, junior center fielder Kevin Carey (Wakefield, RI) laced a single to right field that scored Mustafa and cut the deficit to one.



 Freshman right fielder Dean Grasso


After back-to-back singles to open the frame, the Huskies answered the bell in the top of the sixth to make it, 4-2, after a deep sacrifice fly from junior second baseman John Carey (South Portland, ME) scored Grady from third base. But the Anchormen responded just a half an inning later to once again trim the deficit to one run. After launching a solo shot an inning earlier, Grasso ripped an RBI single to center field that scored senior first baseman Dan Hopkins (Cranston, RI) and made it, 4-3.


Yet, every time the Anchormen made it a one-run game, USM tacked on an insurance run to increase its margin. After chasing Tsoumakas from the game, the Huskies garnered another run in the seventh inning following a two-out triple from junior designated hitter Tucker White (Deerfield, NH), as a costly RIC error scored White from third to make it, 5-3, USM.


Both teams went quietly through the eighth inning, but once again it was the Huskies who crossed the plate in the ninth. Sophomore shortstop Matt Powers (Portland, ME) and Ricker opened the frame with back-to-back singles. White followed with a fielderís choice that moved Powers to third base. White then got caught in a pickle between first and second base while stealing that allowed Powers to score and put the Huskies on top by three, 6-3.


Ives slammed the door on the Anchormen in the ninth, pitching a 1-2-3 inning en route to the complete game victory. Ives (5-0) allowed just three runs on eight hits, while walking none and striking out three. He threw just 85 pitches, 64 of which were strikes, in the game.


Tsoumakas (1-3) got tagged with the loss after four runs on 10 hits through six innings. The southpaw walked none and struck out four.


In game two, it was the Anchormen that jumped out to an early, 1-0, lead after an RBI double from sophomore designated hitter Alex Verrecchia (Cranston, RI) plated senior catcher J.P. Stone (Narragansett, RI) in the first inning.


However, the Huskies stormed right back in the top of the second as a one-out triple from Chadwick sparked the rally. With two outs in the frame, Carey lined an RBI single to right field that scored Chadwick and tied the game at one. Sophomore third baseman Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, MA) followed with an RBI double that scored Carey and gave USM a 2-1 lead.


In the top of the third, the Huskies added two more. White tripled to drive in Ricker, and then scored from third on a Rhode Island College error to make it, 4-1.


Blanchard came on in relief of RIC freshman starting pitcher Dylan Cummiskey (Warwick, RI) in the fourth to get the final out of the frame. The Anchormen bounced back in the bottom of the fourth as senior left fielder Brent Hopkins (Cranston, RI) blasted a solo home run (1) over the left field fence to cut the deficit to two. RIC added another in the fifth to make it, 4-3, after Stone grounded a single through the left side of the infield that scored senior center fielder Victor Baez (Providence, RI).


Southern Maine answered with two runs in the top of the seventh as Powers contributed an RBI ground out and the visitors scored on an error to build a 6-3 advantage.


RIC erupted for seven runs in the home half of the frame to take control of the game. With one away, junior third baseman Cody Ortega (Kissimmee, FL) homered (1) off of USM sophomore starter Logan Carman (Newfields, NH). Baez followed with a triple and came home on  senior shortstop Kyle Allaireís (Uxbridge, MA) RBI single. Stone reached on a fielderís choice as Allaire beat Carmanís throw to second, but the lefty rebounded to get senior first baseman Dan Hopkins (Cranston, RI) to pop out. With two down, the Huskies turned to senior reliever Dustin Stanton (Cornish, ME) to get them out of the jam.


Stanton got Brent Hopkins to hit what looked like to be an inning-ending grounder, but instead, an error loaded the bases. Sophomore designated hitter Alex Verrecchia (Cranston, RI) was hit by a pitch to tie the game and Grasso followed with the big two-run single. Another Huskie error helped RIC tack on two more runs, which proved to be the decisive blows.



 Senior shortstop Kyle Allaire


Senior reliever Mike DeWald (Hope Valley, RI) breezed through the eighth and got two strikeouts to start the ninth before White doubled in a pair. Grady hit a laser to shortstop that Allaire went airborne to snag and end the game.


Cummiskey allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits in 3.2 innings. He struck out two and walked three. Blanchard allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, struck out two and walked a pair in 3.1 innings. DeWald allowed two unearned runs on one hit to go along with three punchouts.


Carman took the loss (1-2), allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits in 6.2 innings. Stanton allowed three unearned runs on one hit in 0.1 innings. Sophomore Luke Hammond (Rangeley, ME) hurled one inning of scoreless relief.


White had a strong afternoon for USM, going 5-for-10 with two runs scored, two triples and three RBI. Chadwick went 4-for-7 with a triple and an RBI.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will play at Worcester State on Tuesday, April 3 (3:30 p.m.).