MANSFIELD Conn. — Two loud clangs marked the end of Husson University of Bangor’s scrappy run in the NCAA Division III New England Regional.
The seventh-seeded Eagles fell to top-seeded and host Eastern Connecticut State University 18-3 Saturday at Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Trinity defeated ECSU 5-4 in Sunday’s title game.
On Saturday, the Warriors were propelled by four home runs, including a second-inning blast by sophomore left fielder Robert Perry that ricocheted off the base of the light tower in right field to give ECSU a 3-2 lead.
Husson, which finished with a 2-2 record in the tourney, tied the game in the bottom of the third on an RBI single up the middle by sophomore first baseman Chris Maguire. Eastern jumped ahead for good with a combined seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings, highlighted by another Perry blast, a line drive that clunked off the bottom of the left field scoreboard in the fifth.
“[There was a] pretty nice jet stream out in left field,” Perry said. “I was seeing the ball well, I think the whole team was seeing the ball well today.”
The three-run shot gave the Warriors a 10-3 lead that even the feisty Eagles couldn’t overcome.
“We ran into a very good team today that I think can swing the bats with anybody in the country,” Husson head coach Jason Harvey said. “No matter who we threw at them, they hit the ball on the line. It was just a great game to be a part of and I think we just ran out of gas in the homestretch of the game.”
After sophomore pitcher Jim Schult homered in the top of the first, Husson took a fleeting 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore designated hitter Ethan Guerette lined a single to right-center to score freshman left fielder Kyle Vanidestine. Senior catcher Nick Arthers followed with an RBI double to left-center and advanced to third on a single by senior right fielder Jeff Miller, but Miller was picked off to end the inning.
ECSU’s powerful offense followed its fourth- and fifth-inning rallies with three in the sixth and five in the eighth. The Warriors finished with 18 hits.
“You can’t come back every single time,” Harvey said. “If you put yourself in position, you’re going to come back the majority of the time. Today, we just didn’t put ourselves in that position.”
Schult (4-0), who finished 2-for-5, pitched his first complete game of the year and set a season high with 11 strikeouts.
Junior Chris Morris (5-3) took the loss for Husson, giving up six runs in 3ª innings.
The Eagles finished the season with a 33-14 mark, up from 16-23 a year ago. The game marked the final appearance in an Eagles uniform for five seniors: Arthers, Miller, outfielder T.J. Frail, infielder Billy Shannon and pitcher Chris Pease.
“We definitely made some huge strides,” Harvey said of the season. “It started in the fall when the guys started buying into some things we were doing in the program, not only offensively, defensively and pitching, but just the mentality that we had in practice and the way we went about playing the game of baseball.”
Husson’s Guerrette was named to the all-tourney team.