GORHAM — The University of Southern Maine baseball team’s potent offense emerged Saturday night and that means they get to keep playing Sunday.

The Huskies, who had scored only 14 runs in their previous six postseason games, scored six runs in both the third and seventh innings of their second elimination game of the day as they banged out 14 hits and drew 10 walks to knock out MIT, 14-5, in the NCAA Division III regional at Ed Flaherty Field.

The third-inning outburst, which broke a scoreless tie, featured a two-run double by Andrew Hillier and a two-run, opposite field triple by Sam Troiano, who scored on the play because of an errant throw. In the seventh, Troiano (3 for 4) added a two-run double pulled hard to left. He had been 3 for 24 in his previous six games.

“I’ve just been struggling a little bit,” Troiano said. “I got one I could put over the first baseman’s head and score some runs. I was getting my rhythm back, just not trying to do too much with it. Once we get those insurance runs everyone kind of relaxes but still plays to win.”

USM (36-8), ranked third and fourth in the two national polls, will face New England College (24-15) at noon Sunday. USM will need to beat the Pilgrims twice to advance to next weekend’s best-of-three super regional against the winner from the UMass Boston regional.

“That’s what we’ve done all season. We’ve swept every LEC doubleheader so we did it today no problem and I have nothing but confidence we’ll do it tomorrow against a good opponent,” said USM pitcher Gage Feeney, who got the second-game win and saved his staff with 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits.

NEC beat USM 10-2 on Friday and came from behind to beat MIT (23-19-1) in Saturday’s middle game, 6-5.

USM won Saturday’s first game, 3-2, with a ninth-inning comeback against Oswego State. The effort was keyed by two-time All-American Jake Dexter with four innings of scoreless relief and two RBI. He also scored the winning run in a two-run rally in the ninth.

Dexter, a senior from Oakland (Messalonskee High), came on to pitch in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and no outs. He got out of that jam with consecutive grounders to third baseman Andrew Hillier, the second a 5-2-3 double play.

“We just kept playing,” Dexter said. “Oswego’s a great team. They stymied us. We just had to keep swinging. That’s a big thing.”

Trailing 2-1 entering the ninth as the visiting team (loss of a coin flip), USM had just five hits off Nick DeMarco and had scored only 12 runs in 53 postseason innings.

“We’ve been in a funk since we started the conference tournament,” said USM Coach Ed Flaherty. “As a coach, you just try to keep pumping them up, saying this is what the game is about. You’ve just got to keep believing in yourself. Something will happen. There will be a break.”

Hillier, the Huskies’ hottest hitter, started the rally with a leadoff single, his third hit of the game, and advanced to third on a wild pitch and a ground out. Then the break came. Dexter’s fly ball to right, deep enough to score Hillier, glanced off Mike Dellicarri’s glove, allowing Dexter to race all the way to third.

“I was just getting it out there and Dellicarri, he’s one of the best players in the country,” Dexter said. “It’s tough to have that happen to him, but that’s the game.”

Dexter scored on a wild pitch, beating the throw to the plate in part because Oswego catcher Lukas Olsson couldn’t gather the ball cleanly.

Oswego’s runs in the sixth were set up by an error by USM starting pitcher Joshua Joy, who was unable to field a slow roller. Joy then walked the next batter and was pulled for senior reliever Henry Curran. Curran was called for two balks and gave up RBI singles to Brandon Nicholson and Dellicarri. After Olsson, the cleanup hitter, was walked intentionally, Dexter shifted from second base to the mound.


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