May 21, 2018
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Black Bear bats come alive in win over Husson

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

ORONO — The University of Maine’s softball Black Bears didn’t swing the bats like they wanted to last weekend while dropping two out of three to America East rival Stony Brook.

But the Bears, who hit .250 against Stony Brook, erupted for 15 hits on Tuesday, including homers by Meghan McLain and Kirstin Allen, to beat Division III Husson University 10-2 at Kessock Field.

Maine, which will host Albany for a three-game set this weekend, improved to 16-22 while Husson of Bangor fell to 9-11.

Allen’s three-run homer in the sixth ended the game as the eight-run rule was invoked.

“We were very tentative this past weekend,” said Allen.

“We went in with the mentality that we wanted to be aggressive at the plate all day,” said McLain. “We hit a lot better today.”

The score was misleading as it was a 4-2 game entering the bottom of the fifth after Husson had left the bases loaded in the top of the fifth.

But McLain, who was 1-for-7 over the weekend, opened the fifth with a homer to right-center to trigger a three-run rally off reliever Kody Lyon.

“The pitch was inside,” said Orrington freshman McLain. “I struggled this weekend, but I’m finally coming around.”

Allen and Jean Stevens followed with singles. They moved up on a one-out fly out before Margaret Hilton and Jennifer Eberhardt produced run-scoring singles.

In the sixth, Terren Hall walked against reliever Rebecca McCarty, who had gotten the final out of the fifth, before McLain lined an opposite-field single to left-center and Allen ripped her second homer of the season over the left field fence.

“I was a little bit due,” said Allen, who entered the game hitting .179. “The pitch was up where I like it.”

“This (game) was a real good confidence builder for me. I needed it,” added Allen.

Husson jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on Courtney Hill’s bunt single, Brianna Webster’s sacrifice and freshman pitcher Kelly Naegelin’s line single to left which produced her team-high 17th RBI.

Maine took the lead for good with three runs off Naegelin in the second on Jenny MacDowell’s leadoff single, Cassie Hodgson’s sacrifice, Dagmar Ralph’s opposite-field RBI double to left-center, Eberhardt’s RBI single and Kali Burnham’s run-scoring double.

Maine expanded the lead with an unearned run off Lyon in the fourth on an infield error, Eberhardt’s base hit and Burnham’s RBI fielder’s choice.

Husson got one back in the fifth off Ashley Kelley, who relieved Kylie Sparks at the outset of the fourth.

Kara Poirier reached on an infield single to the shortstop hole, went to second on Hill’s bunt single and scored on a pair of walks.

But Kelley struck out Meg Richard to get out of the jam without further damage.

Beth Spoehr pitched the sixth, striking out a pair.

“I thought we hit pitches where they were pitched and we drove the ball,” said Maine coach Deb Smith, who noted that McLain and Allen have been working on their hitting mechanics and it paid off.

“It was a good game until the fifth. We couldn’t hold them,” said Husson coach Amanda Davey, who also felt her team made some mental errors that proved costly.

“We were happy with our hitting today, but our mental game wasn’t there for us,” said Husson junior catcher Sarah Risser, a former Brewer High School teammate of McLain’s.

“Meghan had a great day at the plate,” said Risser.

Eberhardt had three hits and two RBIs for Maine, while Burnham, McLain and Allen each had two hits. Allen had three RBIs and Burnham had two.

Hill was Husson’s only repeat hitter.

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