GORHAM — Lauren Leidemann-Smith singled home the go-ahead run in the fourth inning and finished 3 for 4 with three RBI, and the University of Southern Maine advanced to the championship round of the Little East Conference softball tournament with a 10-8 win Thursday against UMass Dartmouth.

The top-seeded Huskies (31-2-1) overcame a 6-2 deficit to win their three-team pod and set up a best-of-three series Saturday in Gorham against No. 2 Eastern Connecticut State (28-2).

UMass Dartmouth (10-14-1) took the lead by scoring four runs in the top of the third, but USM quickly answered with four runs in the bottom half to make it 6-6.

The Huskies then went ahead for good in the fourth on RBI singles by Leidemann-Smith and Madison Day. Leidemann-Smith added a two-run single in the fifth, extending the lead to 10-6.

Day and Samantha Hauck each finished with two RBI, and Kaitlyn Nelson went 3 for 4 with three runs scored.

Lauren Merrill got the win in relief of Kirsten Pelletier, allowing two unearned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

USM 2, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE 1: Ben Lambert pitched a five-hitter and escaped a ninth-inning jam as the second-seeded Huskies (28-8) won their opening pod game in the Little East Conference tournament, in Gorham.

USM got its only runs in the second inning. Andrew Olszak led off with a single, stole second and scored on Janek Luksza’s double. Luksza advanced to third on a groundout and raced home on Jason Komulainen’s two-out bunt single.

Lambert took a shutout into the ninth, but an error, a walk and an RBI single by Cal Parrillo cut the deficit to 2-1. A passed ball put runners on second and third with one out, but Lambert got a pop-up and a groundout to end the game.

The Huskies will host either Rhode Island College (22-10) or Castleton (9-22) in the pod final on Saturday, with an if-necessary game scheduled for Monday if USM loses Saturday. The pod winner advances to the best-of-three championship series, starting next Thursday.

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