BANGOR — A leadoff hitter’s primary job is to get on base and score runs. Same for the No. 2 hitter although they are also asked to move runners along.
Husson University freshman designated hitter Dylan Foster had three hits and scored four runs out of the leadoff spot and sophomore third baseman Jake Arthers drove in three runs from the second spot with a double and a single to pace Husson University to a 9-3 victory over the University of Maine-Farmington in their North Eastern Athletic Conference opener Friday afternoon.
Top seed Husson, now 25-15, will face 19-18 Castleton State, a 4-1 winner over Thomas College, in the winners bracket game on Saturday at 2 p.m.
UMF, 5-25, wlll take on 12-25 Thomas College in the 10 a.m. losers bracket game.
The Husson-Castleton State loser and the UMF-Thomas winner will square off at 6 p.m. and the championship round, featuring the Husson-Castleton State winner in the driver’s seat, will begin at noon on Sunday.
Oakland’s Foster had an inside-the-park homer, a triple and an infield single and also drew a walk in five trips to the plate.
“He’s the type of slap hitter who puts the ball in play and puts pressure on the defense because he’s fast,” said Husson coach Jason Harvey. “He really stepped up and ignited us at the top of the lineup today.”
“It’s definitely a nice time to contribute,” said the lefthanded-hitting Foster, who had gone 10-for-39 (.256) during the regular season. “We want to send the seniors out on the right note. These games mean a lot to them.
“I was just trying to get on base and use my speed a little bit to try to score runs out of the leadoff spot,” added Foster, who hit his inside-the-park homer to left center in the eighth.
Foster sliced a triple down the left-field line to open the first inning and scored on Ethan Guerette’s infield chopper. Guerette went to third on an errant pickoff and scored on Shawn Smith’s infield single.
UMF cut the lead in half in the third on Connor McNeill’s RBI groundout but Foster triggered a three-run rally in the bottom of the third by drawing a leadoff walk.
Guerette, Smith and Kyle Vanidestine had RBI singles in the inning.
Cody McInnis and Foster singled in the fourth before Arthers delivered them with a long double over left fielder Ian McAlister’s head to make it 7-1.
“It was a first-pitch fastball that he (losing pitcher Casey Ashey) left up and I attacked it,” said Belfast’s Arthers.
“I didn’t think he’d be swinging at the first pitch but he put a good stroke on the ball,” said Searsport’s Ashey.
Husson starter Ryan Arsenault was reached for two runs in the fifth on four singles and an error but the lefty got one of his 14 ground ball outs to get out of further danger.
Arsenault, who improved to 7-3, allowed seven hits and two earned runs over seven innings while throwing 51 strikes among his 80 pitches. He struck out two and didn’t walk anyone.
“I didn’t have my best stuff and Farmington’s a decent team. Luckily, I was able to battle out of some tough situations,” said Arsenault.
“His curve wasn’t as sharp as it usually is so he had to use his fastball more but he still threw strikes and got outs,” said UMF’s McNeill, who was Arsenault’s former teammate at Portland High.
Kyle Savage and Kyle Leeman pitched an inning apiece in relief for Husson.
Smith complemented Foster and Arthers with three hits and two RBIs and Vanidestine and McInnis had two hits each.
Josh Garneau and Alex Goldrup had two hits apiece for the Beavers.