ORONO, Maine — With three important road games against America East leader Stony Brook on the horizon this weekend, the University of Maine softball team wanted a useful tuneup when it entertained Division III Husson University on Tuesday.
That’s what they received as junior right-hander Beth Spoehr tossed a four-hitter and the Black Bears unleashed a 13-hit attack to beat Husson of Bangor 8-0 in six innings at Kessock Field.
It was the fourth straight win for Maine (11-24) and the loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Husson (21-9).
Spoehr, who entered the game with a 6.21 earned run average, struck out seven and walked just one while throwing 99 pitches, 64 of which were strikes.
Spoehr had tossed a five-hitter Saturday in a 4-2 win over America East rival Binghamton.
“My numbers hadn’t been where I wanted them to be. I had a few rough starts lately. But I had a good game this weekend and a good one today, and that gives me confidence going into Stony Brook,” said Spoehr.
“I felt good. I threw a lot of screwballs and curves. I got my control down and got ahead of the hitters really well which always helps,” added the native of Appleton, Wis.
“Beth did a great job today,” said Maine coach Lynn Coutts.
She retired 12 of the last 13 hitters she faced.
Maine, which scored in every inning, received two hits apiece from EmJ Fogel, Jessica Burk, Hilary Kane and Jennifer Eberhardt.
Maine scored a single run in each of the first three innings before freshman Fogel ripped a two-run single in the fourth to give the Bears some breathing room.
Maine added a run in the fifth and the mercy rule came into play in the sixth when a Husson throwing error with two outs allowed two runs to score.
Fogel, the America East Rookie of the Week, grounded a single to center in the first, Burk singled her to second and Jean Stevens bounced a single to right to deliver Fogel.
Smart base running by Margaret Hilton contributed to the second-inning run as she moved from first to an uncovered second in the aftermath of a Husson double play and then scored on an infield throwing error.
Burk’s ringing double to right-center and Kane’s sinking two-out line drive single to center produced the third-inning run.
Consecutive singles by Hilton and Brynne Davis and Lindsey Jenkins’ sacrifice set the stage for Fogel’s two-run base hit that exploded at the feet of Husson second baseman Ashley Smith, who bravely tried to knock it down.
“I don’t know if it was a fastball or a curve but it was inside and I wanted to take it in that direction to score some runs,” said the left-hander Fogel.
Becca McCarty pitched the first four innings for Husson, allowing nine hits and five runs, four earned, with a strikeout and no walks.
Kody Lyon pitched the final 1 2/3 innings and surrendered four hits and three unearned runs.
Husson made four errors.
“I thought our pitchers threw well. They did the last time we played them, too,” said Husson coach Amanda Bourgoin. “But I felt we were a little bit rushed on defense. They’re faster and stronger than the kids we’re used to playing.”
Maine beat Husson 9-0 in five innings on April 3 as the Eagles committed four errors and Ashley Kelley tossed a three-hitter with nine strikeouts.
“We didn’t do so well against their No. 1 pitcher the last time but we put the ball in play today and made them get us out,” said Husson junior right fielder Courtney Hill, who added facing a Division I team like Maine is a valuable experience “especially if we go to the [NCAA Division III] Regionals again.”
Freshman third baseman Victoria Overlock had a pair of singles for Husson.
Hill and Brianna Webster had the other hits, both singles, for the Eagles.
Husson will visit Maine Maritime Academy in Castine for a 2 p.m. doubleheader Wednesday.