Harwich, MA --- Southern Maine senior Chris Bernard (Scarborough, Maine) registered a homerun and a triple while scoring twice and driving in three runs to help lead the second seeded Huskies past seventh-seeded Worcester State, 8-4, in the opening round of the NCAA Division III New England Baseball Regional at Whitehouse Field.
USM (32-12) will continue their run in the 8 p.m. contest tomorrow against third-seeded Tufts. The Lancers (25-16) try to avoid elimination with a 1 p.m. start time
The Lancers jumped out to the early 2-0 lead after the first half inning when junior classmates Zach George (Attleboro, Mass.) and Cody Osburn (Fair Oaks, Calif.) registered back-to-back RBI singles to centerfield with two outs.
The Huskies responded in the bottom half of the second inning when freshman Matt Bender (Walpole, Mass.) laced a run-producing double off the left field fence to drive in junior Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H.) who singled to open the frame for the 2-1 score.
Southern Maine grabbed the 5-2 edge in the bottom of the third after and RBI triple from Bernard who then trotted home when classmate Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine) ripped a two-bagger off the left field fence.
Then after an infield single and a walk loaded the bases sophomore Nick DiBiase (Portland, Maine) slapped a single through the left side to plate a pair.
WSU threatened in the top of the fifth as they loaded the bases with two outs but USM senior southpaw Logan Carman (Newfields, N.H.) induced a line out to left field to end the inning and preserve the lead.
Southern Maine plated three more runs in the bottom half of the sixth. After an RBI bloop single from sophomore Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine) Bernard stepped to the plate and wasted little time as he launched the first pitch he saw high into the night and over the left field fence for a two-run shot and the 8-2 lead.
The Lancers grabbed a pair of their own in the top of the seventh on an RBI groundout by junior David Ruggiero (Peabody, Mass.) and sophomore Dennis Duplessis (Marlboro, Mass.) then scampered home on a wild pitch to make it a four-run contest.
However, the USM bullpen shut the door as sophomores Dan Kinnon (Londonderry, N.H.) and Ryan Browner (Georgetown, Mass.) combined to toss the final two innings without surrendering a hit.
Carman earned the decision improving his record to 3-1 after tossing seven strong allowing four earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a trio of walks.
Libuda was dealt the loss as he falls to 5-3 after hurling seven innings allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
The Huskies outhit WSU, 10-6, on the evening. Bernard and Dexter each finished 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored as the only multi-hitters for the hosts. Bernard drove in three runs while Dexter added an RBI of his own.
Osburn finished the night 2-for-4 at the dish with an RBI as the only multi-hit batter for the Lancers.
Story By John Hanna - Sports Information Graduate Assistant