Two shutout pitching performances this week have improved Husson University’s chances of hosting the upcoming North Atlantic Conference baseball tournament.
Junior right-hander Jesse Colford of Bangor threw a four-hitter, and senior righty Ryan Allender of Rockland allowed one hit over six innings as the Eagles swept Thomas College of Waterville, 5-0 and 1-0 in a Senior Day doubleheader at the Winkin Complex on Wednesday to tighten the top of the NAC standings.
Northern Vermont-Lyndon enters weekend play with a 9-3 NAC record, followed by Husson and Thomas at 8-4.
Each of the three contenders has a four-game conference series left to determine which school will host the four-team tournament May 3-5.
Northern Vermont-Lyndon (18-17 overall) visits Thomas (10-20) for doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
Coach Jason Harvey’s Husson team (19-14), which has won four of its past five NAC contests, is scheduled to host fifth-place University of Maine at Presque Isle (1-28 overall, 0-12 NAC) at the Winkin Complex in Bangor for doubleheaders at 11 a.m. Sunday and noon Monday.
On Wednesday, Colford (5-2) dominated the opener, facing just 23 batters in the seven-inning contest. The Bangor High School product struck out three and walked no one while securing his fifth straight victory.
Among 10 appearances, he is 3-0 with a 1.08 earned run average in three NAC starts in which opponents are batting .203 against him.
Allender (3-3), a graduate of Oceanside High School in Rockland, followed up Colford’s effort by allowing one hit over six innings while striking out one and walking three.
Junior right-hander Jake Gauvin of Bucksport pitched a scoreless seventh inning for his third save of the spring.
The fourth-seeded University of Maine at Farmington (10-19 overall, 7-9 NAC) has clinched the final berth in the double-elimination NAC tournament.
The NAC tourney champion advances to host the City University of New York Athletic Conference champion in a best-of-three series May 10-11 with the winner receiving an automatic NCAA tournament berth.
That arrangement was announced last summer after the NAC fell below the minimum seven schools required to maintain an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament after Castleton University, Colby-Sawyer College and New England College all left what was a seven-school league last spring.
UMPI subsequently joined the NAC as its fifth baseball program, and SUNY Canton is set to join the conference in the sport next spring.
The CUNYAC also has five baseball schools: Baruch College, City College of New York, John Jay College, Lehman College and College of Staten Island. That conference tourney is scheduled for May 3-5.
Eagles land Florida forward
The Husson University men’s basketball program has added more frontcourt depth with a commitment from 6-6 forward Luke Martin of Ponte Vedra, Florida.
Martin averaged 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds last winter as a senior at Ponte Vedra High School and led all Northeast Florida players by shooting 86.8 percent from the free-throw line. He became the leading career and single-season free-throw shooter in school history.
Martin also shot 39 percent from the 3-point arc last season.
“Luke is a long forward who shoots the ball very well,” Husson head coach Warren Caruso said in a release. “Luke is a high academic student-athlete and plays with a high IQ. We like his mindset and feel he will have an opportunity to contribute early in his career.”
Martin joins a 2019 Husson recruiting class that also includes 6-2 guard Derek Collin of Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor, 6-9 center Jared Balser of Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham and 6-7 forward Scott Lewis of South Portland.
Husson women joins golf league
The Husson women’s golf program is one of 10 members of the newly formed Northeast Women’s Golf Conference, which recently was approved by the NCAA Membership Committee.
The conference will hold its inaugural championship meet Sunday at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield, Massachusetts.
Joining the Eagles in the NWGC are Johnson & Wales University, Keuka College, Nazareth College, Suffolk University, SUNY Canton, SUNY Cortland, St. John Fisher College, Utica College and Westfield State.
As an independent sport conference, the NWGC only needs seven members to apply for an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.
Starting with the 2019-20 season, the conference championship will be a two-day event held during the fall.