Bangor, ME - The Husson University softball team defeated the visiting Hornets of Lyndon State College in a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Quarterfinal match-up by a score of 10-2 in five innings at O'Keefe Field on a windy Tuesday afternoon. The Eagles improve to 28-9 on the year, and as the #1 seed in the NAC, will host the conference tournament this weekend. With the loss, Lyndon State is eliminated from the playoffs, and finish the year with a record of 11-24.
For the Eagles, pitcher Becca McCarty (Skowhegan, ME) manned the circle for three innings to earn the victory and improve to 13-6 on the season, allowing one run which was unearned on two hits while striking out two. She was relieved by Kody Lyon (Dalton, NH), who came in for the final two innings and allowed one run on one hit to close out the game.
Hornets pitcher Katie Davis (North Haverhill, NH) was credited with the loss, falling to 4-14 on the year while going three innings and letting up nine runs on eight hits and four walks and striking out two Husson batters. Meaghan Gadapee (Littleton, NH) pitched the last inning for Lyndon, letting up a run on two hits in relief.
Offensively, the Eagles were led by senior first baseman Nicole Sargent (Sullivan, ME), who went 1-1 with three RBI and two runs scored. Designated player Chelsea Brennan (Woonsocket, RI) had a two RBI day, going 1-2 at the plate with another run scored. Lead-off hitter Courtney Hill (Calais, ME) was the lone Husson hitter with a multi-hit game, going 2-3 at the dish with a run scored and a pair of stolen bases.
For Lyndon State, first baseman Ashley Barski (St. Johnsbury, VT) had two of her team's three hits on a 2-3 day at the plate. Gadapee had the other hit in the game for the Hornets, starting the game out as the designated player, going 1-2 with a run scored. Lead-off hitter Jen Lynch (Portland, ME) had the other score, reaching on a walk, while catcher Taylor Young (Lowell, MA) had the lone Lyndon RBI on the day.
Husson started strong with a 1-2-3 top of the first, and came up with the first run of the ball game in the home half of the inning. Brianna Webster (Belfast, ME) ripped a one-out single up the middle, stealing second and advancing to third on a ground out, setting the table to Brennan in the cleanup spot, who drove in the run with a single up the middle.
The Hornets got the run back in the top of the second to tie the game when Gadapee hit a two-out single up the middle, and a pair of Husson errors allowed her to come around and knot the score at one.
The tie score seemed to spark the Eagle offense, and in the bottom of the second they batted around scoring eight runs. N. Sargent walked to lead off the inning, and came in to score on a Heidi Shaw (Manchester, ME) double down the left field line. Shaw stole third and beat the play at the plate on a fielder's choice. A single and a walk would load the bases, and Victoria Overlock (Belfast, ME) singled in a run to make it 4-1. Brennan drew an RBI walk, and N. Sargent came up for the second time in the inning and cleared the bases with a double to right field. N. Sargent scored on an Aimee Mortensen (Biddeford, ME) single up the middle, and when the dust settled - quite literally in the windy conditions - Husson held a 9-1 advantage.
McCarty dealt another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third to finish off her day in the top of the third. The Eagles left two on in the bottom of the inning, and in the fourth Lyon stepped into the circle and pitched around a one out walk for a blank frame in the top of the fourth. In the home half, Ashley Smith (Ellsworth, ME) doubled down the right field line off Gadapee who was fresh in the game, and advanced to third on a ground out. Kelsey Livermore (Kennebunk, ME) came in to pinch-hit, and picked up the RBI on an infield ground out and it was 10-1 in favor of Husson after four.
With their backs against the wall, the Hornets kept fighting in the top of the fifth, scratching across a run. Lynch drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on Barski's single to left. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, and after another walk loaded the bases, the Eagles traded an out for a run on an infield fielder's choice, letting Lynch cross the plate to make it 10-2. Lyon forced the sixth batter of the inning to pop out to Overlock in foul territory, and seal the victory after five innings.
Husson will travel to Bates College on Wednesday to make up a double header that was scheduled for March 27th. The games are scheduled to begin at 3:30 pm. After that, the Eagles will return home on Friday to resume the NAC Tournament, and await the winner of Thomas College and Maine Maritime Academy who square off for their quarterfinal match-up at 4:00 pm on Wednesday. Husson plays the first game of four scheduled at the O'Keefe Softball field on Friday, starting at 10:00 am, and will play again at 4:00 pm with a win, or 2:00 pm in a loss.