March 25, 2012

Husson Completes the Sweep in 4 Game Series with NEC

Bangor, ME - The Husson University baseball team started their North East Athletic Conference (NEAC) season with four-straight wins over East Division rival New England College. The Eagles won game one by a score of 2-0 over the visiting Pilgrims, and broke things open when the weather subsided in game two, taking home an 11-0 victory to complete the sweep. After a successful weekend, Husson's record improves to 7-6 as they boast a six-game winning streak since their return from Florida. The Eagles boast a 4-0 record in the NEAC. With the string of losses, NEC falls to 6-5 on the year, while opening their conference season 0-4.

In game one, the Eagles received a strong showing on the hill from starter Pat McEwen (Brewer, ME) who went the distance to earn the complete game shut-out, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out five. Offensively, Kyle Vanidestine (Bangor, ME) responded to his move to the two-hole with a 2-2 day at the plate while driving in a run. Lead-off hitter Dylan Foster (Oakland, ME) went 2-3 at the dish while scoring a run. 

For the Pilgrims, shortstop Pierce Byrd (Ft. Myers, FL) had McEwen's number, going 3-3 at the plate, but New England College - who actually out-hit the host Eagles 6-5 - was unable to turn that offensive production into runs, leaving a total of seven runners on base. On the hill, junior south paw Chris Wallace (Manchester, NH) threw a complete game despite receiving the loss, going six complete, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out five of his own. 

The Eagles broke out in the bottom of the third when Foster started things off with a two out single that trickled off the bat and the speedy right fielder was able to leg out the throw, and quickly took second base. Vanidestine singled through the left side, bringing Foster all the way around to score the first run of the day.

After NEC was unable to score in the top of the fourth, despite getting two aboard, Husson would add another run in the bottom of the inning. Jake Arthers(Belfast, ME) drew a one-out walk, and moved to second on a passed ball. First baseman Benjamin McLain (Pemaquid, ME) stepped up to the plate and belted an RBI single to left field, plating Arthers and giving Husson a 2-0 lead. 

That would be all the Eagles needed as the defense settled in to finish the victory. The Pilgrims had their chances, getting runners at first and third with just one out in the top of the 7th, but McEwen ended the game with a big strike out and a ground ball to take the win. 

In the second contest, the rain lessened as the day went along and while the sun never poked it's head through the clouds, it was the pitching that shined in the early going. The game was scoreless until the fifth inning as Husson's Joe Stanevicz (Bangor, ME) and the Pilgrims' Byrd both looked good on the hill.

Stanevicz went six strong innings, allowing just three hits while working around four walks and striking out five. He combined with Dennis O'Neil (Mount Desert, ME) for the shut-out as the fellow first year hurler came in to strike out three batters in just an inning of work to finish off game two. Offensively, designated hitter Jason Smith (Milford, ME) took advantage of his only appearance of the weekend, going 3-4 at the plate with a run scored and a team-high four RBI. Arthers had a solid game two as well, going 1-2 with a pair of runs and three RBI. 

For New England College, four different hitters combined for their team hits, all of which were singles. Byrd was tagged for the loss as he left the game after facing just 18 batters over four innings, allowing two runs on as many hits while striking out three. 

Both teams seemed to have something going in the third inning, but the pitching came through to keep the game scoreless until the bottom of the 5th. The Eagles loaded the bases on three straight walks to start the inning. After a Husson strike out, Shawn Smith drew another walk that scored the first run of the game. Another K put two outs on the board, but a good eye by Arthers drew the fifth walk of the inning to plate the second run. Jason Smith came to bat with the bases loaded and smacked a triple to right field, clearing the bases and giving the Eagles a 5-0 advantage. Pinch hitter Casey Estes (Old Town, ME) reached on an error that scored J. Smith and the Husson lead stretched to six. McLain singled up the middle so set the table for Cody McInnis (Bangor, ME) who followed suit with a two-RBI single that went over the second base bag, and the Eagles took a 8-0 margin after five.

The Pilgrims got two aboard in the top of the sixth, but Stanevicz rolled a clutch ground ball for an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep NEC off the board. After a one out walk to S. Smith and a Nick Lancisi (Dover, ME) double, Arthers cleared the bases with a two-bagger of his own, plating a pair and giving Husson double-digits on the scoreboard. J. Smith singled to center field, allowing Arthers to score and the Eagles took and 11-0 lead. O'Neil came in and shut the door as Husson completed the four-game sweep.

The Eagles are in action again on Tuesday the 27th when they host Bates College for a 4:00 pm start at the Winkin Complex. NEC will return home to Henniker, NH for their home-opener on Wednesday the 28th, when they host Lesley for a double headder beginning at 2:00 pm.