WATERVILLE — The University of Southern Maine baseball team had a one-inning meltdown Wednesday at Colby College, the kind of inning that strikes out of nowhere and turns games into a smoldering heap.

The No. 18 ranked Huskies made six errors in the second inning, handing the Mules six unearned runs. Despite the almost allergic reaction to defense in the second inning, USM rallied late, scoring two runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game and adding three more in the top of the 11th when Oakland native Sam Dexter hit a bases loaded triple for a 10-7 victory. With that, the smoldering heap became an ugly win.

“I would bet my money on (Dexter) up there any time,” USM coach Ed Flaherty said.

It was a sort of homecoming for Dexter and his brother Jake, who earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief. The Dexter brothers grew up around Colby, with their father, Tom Dexter, the football team’s defensive coordinator and former baseball head coach. Tom Dexter is currently an assistant baseball coach with the Mules.

“Good teams find ways to win, even when they come down to the field and don’t play their best. We found a way to win. It wasn’t pretty, obviously,” said Sam Dexter, who set USM’s career hits record in Tuesday’s win over Husson.

Colby pitched around Dexter — who entered the game with a .432 batting average — as much as it could. The Mules intentionally walked Dexter twice, in the sixth inning and again in the eighth, to load the bases, with varying success. In the sixth, Daniel Schoenfeld struck out Sam Stauble to end the inning. In the eighth, Schoenfeld walked Jake Glauser with the bases loaded, forcing in a run and cutting Colby’s lead to 6-5.

When Dexter came up in the 11th, with two outs and the bases loaded, the Mules had to pitch to him. Jake Connelly fell behind in the count, two balls and no strikes, and had to throw a fastball. Dexter was waiting for it and he drove the ball to the right field corner.

“I was trying to work to the opposite field, because I think I was a little pull happy earlier in the game,” Dexter said. “Baseball’s a crazy game. It was a great opportunity and I got a great pitch to hit. Just a good comeback win for us.”

Added Colby (5-14) coach Dale Plummer: “Maybe it’s a different story if we don’t have to lay a fastball down the middle to him, but you know you’re not going to get a fastball by a guy like Sam Dexter.”

Down 7-5 going into the ninth inning, USM (15-5) rallied to tie the game. Kyle O’Connor led off with a double and Nick DiBiase singled. Kip Richard’s RBI single cut Colby’s lead to one run, and Tom Budrewicz tied the game at 7-7 with a sacrifice fly to center field.

All seven Colby runs were unearned. Flaherty couldn’t remember a game in which his team made seven errors, never mind pulled out the win in such a game. Flaherty thought about the second inning, and shook his head.

“I couldn’t tell you. We’ve played so well for so long. Our fielding percentage is around .970, almost Major League-level fielding. And then it just happened. Anything can happen in this game,” Flaherty said.

The six-error second inning allowed the Mules to send 11 men to the plate. Colby capitalized on the errors with RBI singles from Matt Mitchell, Tommy Forese, and Andy Currier. When the inning was over, the Mules had a 6-2 lead. Plummer knew it might not be enough.

“(USM) could make 15 errors and they’re going to get 20 hits and make up for it,” Plummer said. “That’s the type of kids they have on that team. A championship-caliber program, those kids wait for those moments.”

Colby starting pitcher Griffin Clark did his best to keep the Huskies in check, allowing three runs over 5 2/3 innings, while giving up six hits, striking out three and walking five. Three of the Huskies Clark walked scored.

“Griffin, he’s been coming along well. He’s still a sophomore. He’s getting better every time out. He pitched out of some jams,” Plummer said.

Currier and Mitchell each had a pair of hits for Colby.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM