Senior center fielder Olivia Smith from Calais belted her team-leading seventh homer, a two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning, to highlight a five-run rally that led second seed Husson University of Bangor to a come-from-behind 9-6 victory over third seed the University of Maine at Presque Isle in their North Atlantic Conference softball tournament opener at Colby College in Waterville on Friday.
Earlier Friday, top seed Thomas used a two-out RBI single by Lauren Guppy in the bottom of the seventh to tie it and another two-out, run-scoring single by Kayla Bess in the eighth to beat fourth seed the University of Maine at Farmington 4-3.
The tournament continues Saturday with 15-14 UMPI and 14-19 UMF meeting in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. Husson (22-9) and Thomas (23-8) play at 3 p.m., and the UMPI-UMF winner faces the Thomas-Husson loser at 5:30.
The championship round begins Sunday at 11 a.m. with the if-necessary game to follow at 1:30 p.m.
In the Husson-UMPI game, the Owls erased a two-run deficit in the top of the sixth to take a 6-4 lead on back-to-back homers by Melanee Terry, a three-run shot, and Marissa Reagle.
But the Eagles responded in the bottom of the sixth. Singles by Arika Brochu and Bri Brochu (bunt) and an error on Chloe Gorey’s bunt single plated two runs. Smith belted tie-breaking homer to center. Husson added an insurance run via an error on a Whitney Bess infield single.
Arika Brochu and Tamara Aunchman each doubled and singled for Husson and Jen Jones singled twice as did Morgan Coleman. Jones went the distance for the win, striking out nine and walking one while allowing six runs and six hits.
Reagle also had a single for UMPI and Jordi Legassie singled twice.
In the opener, under NAC tournament rules, a runner is placed on second in extra innings. Thomas runner Lauren Farina was sacrificed to third by Sydney LeBourveau and scored, one out later, when Bess singled up the middle.
Thomas had tied it in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Jordanna Agger walked, pinch-runner Anna Piirainen was sacrificed to second Guppy poked an RBI single to right.
Alyssa Dillan hit an RBI double in the sixth for UMF, which took a 2-0 lead in the first with the help of two errors.
Guppy’s double and Bailey Dunphy’s triple drove in runs in the fifth to tie it.
Guppy had two singles to go with double for Thomas, and Katlyn Coulter and Kelsey Currier teamed up on a two-hitter.
Brianna McGrath tossed a seven-hitter for UMF.