Sunday, March 9, 2014
Portland Press Herald Staff
HARWICH, Mass. -- Logan Carman pitched his second shutout in five days and the University of Southern Maine beat Endicott College 9-0 Sunday to win the NCAA Division III New England baseball tournament and advance to next weekend's national tournament.
The championship tournament appearance will be USM's seventh in the 28-year coaching career of Ed Flaherty. The Huskies have won two national baseball titles -- in 1991 and 1997.
Carman and senior third baseman Nick Grady, an Erskine Academy graduate, broke single season records held by Rob Aceto and Bob Prince who starred on the '91 championship team. Flaherty went over the 800-victory mark as head coach earlier in the season. Sunday's win was the Huskies' 42nd of the season. USM broke the old record of 39 earlier in the New England tournament.
USM was the tournament's top seed and ranked nationally. The milestones would mean little to Flaherty and his players if they didn't get to the national tournament. Endicott College, a Cinderella team that has never won a New England regional tournament, stood in USM's way.
Carman allowed seven hits, four in the first two innings before retiring 14 of the next 15 batters. He was sitting on a 4-0 lead before USM scored five times in the top of the ninth.
"I had a problem with my location in the first two innings," said Carman, a junior lefthander from Newfields, N.H. "When I got good location on my curve ball everything fell into place."
Carman opened the double-elimination tournament on Wednesday for USM, throwing a three-hit shutout in the win over Daniel Webster College.
Grady scored the winning run in the second inning. He led off with a single. A wild pitch, infield out and a second wild pitch got him home. He led off the fourth inning with another single and, after a sacrifice bunt and infield single, scored on Anthony Pisani's bloop single down the right field line.
The two hits upped Grady's single season total to 89, breaking a 22-year-old record held by Prince, USM's three-time All-American outfielder and until two years ago, Grady's hitting coach at USM. Grady, a senior third baseman, added a two-run double in the ninth.
"I wasn't keeping a countdown," Grady said. "I kinda knew, but I wasn't paying attention today. Hopefully, I'll add to it."
Carman set a school record with his 12th victory of the season, breaking another 22-year-old mark. Aceto of Cape Elizabeth held the previous record of 11 set in 1991.
Carman and freshman shortstop Sam Dexter, a Messalonskee graduate, were named to the all-tournament team. Andrew Richards, a sophomore right-handed pitcher from South Portland, was named the tournament's most outstanding player for Saturday's two-win performance.
USM lost to Endicott on Friday in a game between the last two unbeaten teams in the tournament. USM needed to win three straight games to win the tournament.
Notes: USM trainer Jackie Clark didn't escape the 24-hour virus which hit more than a half-dozen players during the five-day tournament. She was ill Saturday and munched on Saltine crackers and stayed hydrated throughout the game. "I guess it stands to reason it was going to happen," said Clark. She was the first responder, so to speak, for the ill players.
The USM team is welcome back anytime at the Corsair/Cross Rip Resort in Dennis Port, a short ride from tournament site in Harwich on Cape Cod. The resort took delivery of new mattresses and boxsprings while the players were at their bus, waiting to go to Thursday's practice. Flaherty wasn't there but one of his assistants suggested the players put idle time to work. They unloaded the truck quickly....Sunday's nine-inning, 9-0 game took 2 hours and 8 minutes to play.