GORHAM — Julia SanGiovanni’s two-run homer in the fifth inning broke a 4-4 tie in Game 1, and Alyssa Vilchez pitched a four-hitter in the second game as Eastern Connecticut State swept the best-of-three Little East Conference softball championship series Saturday against Southern Maine, 8-4 and 7-0.
Laura Zenk also had three RBI in Game 1 as the second-seeded Warriors (30-2) handed USM pitcher Kirsten Pelletier (13-1) her first loss of the season.
Kaitlyn Nelson, Alexis Brown, Lauren Leidemann-Smith and Madison Day all had two hits for top-seeded USM (31-4-1).
Eastern Connecticut took control of Game 2 with a six-run fourth inning that included two-run doubles by Cassie Woods and Carley Stoker.
Day was 2 for 2 with a walk for USM, which will wait to see if it receives an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament when the field is announced Monday at 1 p.m.
USM 12, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE 1: Sam Troiano homered in the first inning and finished with three hits and three RBI as Southern Maine (29-8) won its pool in the Little East Conference tournament and advanced to the best-of-three championship series.
Joshua Joy and Bryce Afthim combined on a two-hitter in the seven-inning game, with Joy working the first six innings.
Andrew Hillier and Andrew Olszak each contributed two RBI, and Tom Vesosky and Cam Seymour scored three runs apiece.
Second-seeded USM will visit No. 1 Eastern Connecticut State in the championship series that starts Thursday.
MAINE SWEEPS HARTFORD: The Black Bears (18-18, 14-15 America East) got dominant starting pitching from Alex McKenney and Noah Lewis and kept their America East playoff hopes alive by winning twice against the Hawks (16-17, 16-17) in West Hartford, Connecticut, 15-0 and 6-2.
McKenney and Marshall Smaracko combined on a one-hitter in the opener. McKenney (4-5) gave up only a third-inning single and struck out six in six innings.
After a two-run double by Quinn McDaniel in the second inning, Maine broke it open with nine runs in the third, highlighted by Ryan Turenne’s three-run double. Jake Rainess and Colby Emmertz each added a two-run homer later to complete the rout.
In Game 2, Lewis (4-4) allowed three hits and one earned run in six innings. Maine fell behind 2-0 in the first inning, but Jake Marquez tied it with a two-run single in the second, and Scout Knotts doubled home the go-ahead run in the fifth.