PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The University of Southern Maine clinched a share of the Little East Conference baseball regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming LEC Tournament Saturday with a sweep of Plymouth State College at Panther Field, 5-0 and 18-8.
The sweep improves USM to 29-10 overall and 12-2 in the LEC, while PSC drops to 15-16-1 and 3-9. USM is tied with Eastern Connecticut atop the LEC, but the Huskies own the tiebreaker over ECSU due to a head-to-head sweep.
Plymouth State completes its regular season Sunday at Panther Field with a twinbill against Western Connecticut. The two teams go into the doubleheader tied for sixth place and the final LEC play-off berth, with WCSU holding a potential tiebreaker over PSC. In other words, the Panthers need a sweep of the Colonials Sunday to gain a spot in Tuesday's LEC play-in game.
PSC is hoping for something similar to last season, when the Panthers broke eight school records by sweeping the Colonials, 29-4 and 24-5.
Southern Maine, ranked 12th in the latest Division III poll, used a combined shutout from Denny Webber and Ryan Adams to win the opener. The Panthers got a solid pitching performance themselves from sophomore Nate Provencher (Wilton, NH), who went the distance but suffered the loss to fall to 3-2.
The Panther bats came alive in the nightcap, taking a 7-2 lead after four innings. But PSC starter Owen Burke (Sanbornton, NH) tired in the fifth inning and the Panther bullpen offered little help, and the Huskies came back with eight runs in the fifth and six more in the seventh to run away with the decision.
Junior Dakota Smith (Rochester, NH) had three hits for PSC in the second game, and senior Corey Mastin (Newmarket, NH) cracked his third home run of the season.
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