May 28—HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Southern Maine fell into the loser’s bracket in its NCAA Division III baseball regional on Friday, as its comeback bid fell short in a 5-4 loss to Salve Regina.
Brandon Grover and Sean O’Malley each went 3 for 4 with two RBI, and fourth-seeded Salve Regina (15-6-1) stayed alive in the double-elimination regional after losing its opening game on Thursday. Top-seeded USM (32-10) also dropped to 1-1 in the tournament and will have to win four games over the next two days to advance to the national championship.
USM fell behind 5-0, as Salve Regina scored two runs in the third inning and three in the fifth. The Huskies, meanwhile, were held to one hit until they rallied for four runs in the seventh inning. Tom Vesosky led off with a triple and scored on a single by Cam Seymour. Another run scored on an error, Sam Troiano hit an RBI single, and Dylan Hapworth drove in a run with a groundout.
Salve Regina reliever Andrew Roman closed out the win by retiring the final nine USM batters.
The Highlanders (26-22) scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the Black Bears (22-21) in a winner’s bracket game and advance to the finals of the America East baseball tournament in Stony Brook, New York.
Maine pitcher Alex McKenney took a four-hit shutout into the ninth, but Julio Marcano led off with an infield single and moved to third while David Marcano reached on a fielding error. After a stolen base by David Marcano and an intentional walk, Daniel Helfgott lined out to center for a tying sacrifice fly. Luke Lonzo then drove in the winning run with a single to right.
NJIT, the only undefeated team remaining in the double-elimination tournament, needs one more victory to claim the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. Maine, on the other hand, will play an elimination game Saturday against Stony Brook, and would then have to beat NJIT twice — once on Saturday and again on Sunday.
The Black Bears finished with 10 hits but couldn’t break through until the eighth, when singles by Connor Goodman, Ryan Turenne and Sean Lawlor brought in the game’s first run. Joe Bramanti loaded the bases with another single, but Maine couldn’t pad its lead.