BANGOR, Maine — Two former Hampden Little League teammates met in an impressive pitcher’s duel Wednesday at the Winkin Baseball Complex.
When it was over, University of Southern Maine lefty Brennan Perry came away with the win as his teammates scored a pair of sixth-inning runs off Husson University junior righty Chris Morris en route to a 4-1 victory.
USM, 16-3 and ranked 20th in the latest NCAA Division III poll, entered the game averaging 11 runs per game and hitting .350 as a team.
But Morris limited them to two singles through five shutout innings before USM strung together three hits to open the sixth and take a 2-1 lead.
“That’s the best game that has been pitched against us all year,” said Perry.
“He pitched a great game. And the weather evened things out quite a bit,” said USM senior left fielder and RBI leader Anthony D’Alfonso, who had a pair of run-scoring singles.
“I just went into the game in attack mode,” said Morris, who went 6ª innings and allowed just five hits and two runs with two walks and two strikeouts. “I attacked them with my fastball and also used my curve and changeup. I mixed my speeds up. You have to against a great hitting team like they have or they’ll sit [on your fast-ball].”
Josh Mackey opened the sixth by ripping a double into the left-field corner.
“He threw me a fastball right down the middle,” said Mackey. “I got it nice and it traveled for me.”
He scored the tying run when Chris Burleson dropped a soft single into right center.
Burleson continued to second on an ill-advised throw to the plate and scored when D’Alfonso scorched a line-drive single past the head of first baseman Chris Maguire.
“It was an inside fastball and I opened my hips up and hit it pretty well,” said D’Alfonso. “I think he missed his location.”
“I hung a fastball [to Mackey]; I hit my spot with my fastball to Burleson but he fisted it over the second baseman and I think I hung a curve to D’Alfonso and he put a good swing on it,” said Morris. “They’re great hitters.”
Morris threw 95 pitches, 56 for strikes.
Perry hurled five innings of five-hit, one-run ball. He walked four and struck out five and stranded eight runners. He threw 86 pitches, 50 for strikes.
“I walked too many but, considering the conditions, I threw all right,” said Perry who had a live fastball and good curve.
Nick Hahn, Andrew deBethune and Mike Eaton combined for four innings of one-hit shutout relief.
Morris came out with two outs and nobody on in the seventh and the Huskies scored twice off reliever Ryan Walker on a pair of walks, D’Alfonso’s sharp RBI single to center and Ryan Pike’s RBI single that greeted reliever Dan Beatham.
The Huskies made several great defensive plays to protect the lead including center fielder Pike’s diving catch on Cody Haverly-Johndro’s sinking liner with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth.
“The ball wasn’t traveling. He was the number nine hitter so I was playing in and I got a good jump on it,” said Pike.
Kyle Vanidestine’s two-out RBI infield hit staked 17-11 Husson to a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
Mackey, Burleson, D’Alfonso and Vanidestine had two hits each.