MANSFIELD Conn. — On the third day of the Division III New England Regional at Eastern Baseball Stadium, Husson University of Bangor advanced by again coming through in the clutch to rally from an early deficit, while Southern Maine’s potent offense couldn’t come up with the big hits necessary to keep the Huskies alive in the tournament.
After eliminating sixth-seeded Westfield State on Thursday, Husson (33-13) needed another win in an elimination game against Babson Friday afternoon.
It looked bleak early for the Eagles.
The Beavers tagged senior Chris Pease in the first and had a 4-0 lead before Husson stepped to the plate.
But the righthander settled down and, after pushing a run across in the third, the Eagles exploded for six in the fourth and three in the fifth.
In the fourth, Husson slashed Matt Barton for seven hits and five runs before the senior recorded an out. Sophomore designated hitter Ethan Guerette delivered the big blow with a three-run single.
“[Barton] had been throwing fastballs down the middle, first pitch every time,” Guerette said. “I was just waiting for a fastball over the plate and on the first pitch, I saw it and hit it.”
The Eagles kept the pressure on with a barrage of hits, coupled with several steals and hit-and-run plays.
“We had to create some action. Especially down in our lineup, we have some guys that are great at putting the bat on the ball,” Husson head coach Jason Harvey said. “We executed two [hit-and-runs] in a row and then came up with some big hits to kind of seal the deal.”
Pease (6-2) grabbed the win, throwing seven innings and shutting out the Beavers (23-19) after the first.
Husson faces top-seeded Eastern Connecticut (36-7) in another elimination game today at 1 p.m.
Barton (4-2) took the loss in a game that ended eighth-seeded Babson’s season.
While Husson moved on, Southern Maine dropped a pair of games and was knocked out of the tournament.
The Huskies lost their morning game 6-0 to defending national champion and third seed Trinity and then fell 7-2 to host ECSU in the afternoon game.
The first game was set to be played Thursday night, but forecast inclement weather caused it to be pushed back.
Trinity’s Jeremiah Bayer and USM’s Tim Therrian were both honored as conference pitchers of the year in the NESAC and Little East, respectively. It showed early, as the seniors were locked in a scoreless dual until the fifth.
The Huskies loaded the bases in the first against Bayer and had several other chances throughout the game, but couldn’t cash in.
“They got a couple big two out hits and we didn’t,” senior left fielder and Little East Player of the Year Anthony D’Alfonso said. “We were one or two hits away from making that a ballgame.”
Bayer (11-0) scattered seven hits in his fifth complete game of the season. He had help from a defense which turned three double plays behind him.
“This is the best game I think we’ve played all around,” Bayer said. “Everyone was sharp defensively. I was lucky enough to get the ground balls and the defense did a real good job of making the plays.”
In the second game, ECSU took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first but senior center fielder Ryan Pike cranked a 2-1 offering from senior Shawn Gilblair (8-1) over the left-field scoreboard leading off the second to make it 2-1. The Warriors rallied for three in the fourth to take a commanding lead as Gilblair proved too tough to hit, striking out 14 in seven innings.
“I’m proud of my players,” USM head coach Ed Flaherty said. “We got a tough draw today. I’m not making excuses, but we had to face the No. 3 and No. 5 teams in the nation and two of the best pitchers in the nation in the same day. I don’t care what you say, that’s tough. But I thought our kids battled.”
Junior Collin Henry (3-2), who pitched the first 3ª innings for Southern Maine, then became the DH and homered leading off the top of the seventh for USM’s final run. The Huskies made five errors in the nightcap, resulting in six unearned runs.