Bangor, ME - The Husson University softball team won three games during a weekend homestand, bettering its overall record to 15-6 while staying unbeaten in the North Atlantic Conference at 7-0.
Husson swept a Saturday doubleheader with the Lyndon State College Hornets 2-1 and 5-2, and followed that with a win against the Johnson State College Badgers on Sunday, 9-0. Husson and Johnson were originally scheduled to play a doubleheader as well, but the second game was stopped in the first inning due to rain.
Husson was the visiting team for all three contests even though they were held at the O'Keefe Field after the games were moved due to unplayable conditions at Lyndon and Johnson's respective fields.
On Saturday under bright sunshine, Husson faced all it could handle from a Lyndon squad that entered the twin-bill with a 1-13 record. It took eight innings for the Eagles to earn the game one victory by a 2-1 score, and Lyndon hung around in game two as well before Husson came away with the 5-2 win.
Husson's first year head coach Kristie Hawkins was happy with her team's overall performance in the triumphs against Lyndon, but she was especially pleased with the Eagles' play in the field, saying, "Our defense is what kept us in those games. Our pitchers had two great games and that was just what we needed to see with the bats not being as hot as we had hoped."
Amanda Ryan (Brewer, ME) went eight innings to pick up the victory in game one for the Eagles, while Kayla Merrill (Bethel, ME) was the winning pitcher in game two. Merrill had the biggest hit of the day for Husson, helping her own cause with a two-run homer in the seventh inning of game two.
On Sunday in the snow and rain, Husson's bats would get going in a big way and the pitching would remain solid as they blanked Johnson State 9-0 in five innings. Junior first baseman Chelsea Brennan (Woonsocket, RI) belted a three-run home run in the third inning that would prove to be plenty of run support as Amanda Ryan spun a one-hit masterpiece in the pitching circle.
Ryan earned her seventh win of the 2014 season by allowing just two runners to reach base, and neither of them would end up making it into scoring position. She retired the first eleven batters she faced before permitting a fourth inning single and a fifth inning base on balls. Ryan struck out three Badgers, and the Eagle defense played errorless in the field behind her.
Brennan opened the scoring in the game with her third inning blast which hit off the top of the scoreboard beyond the left field fence. Casey Lopes (New Bedford, MA) followed that with a bases loaded two-run single in the fourth inning before Sami Schultz (Hermon, ME) expanded the lead with a two-run double just two batters later.
Husson would tack on two insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning, and Ryan made them hold up to force the run-rule finish after five full innings.
The two teams would come back on the field and begin game two, and the Eagles got out to a hot start by tallying four runs in the top of the first inning. With just one out and the bases still loaded, the umpires deemed the conditions to be too poor, and wound up postponing the game with the Eagles in the middle of a big inning. It remains to be seen when the second game will be made up and re-started between Husson and Johnson.
Hawkins was impressed with her team's perseverance in the unfriendly elements, saying, "Even with the weather today, it was very nice to see that the team came together and put in a solid performance on both defense and offense. It was also good to see we came out strong again in the second game, just too bad we got cut short due to weather. Overall it was a good weekend, and we're anxious for the busy week we have ahead of us."
The five-time defending NAC champions have a full week in front of them with six games on the schedule, all to be played at Husson's O'Keefe Field. The Eagles will host out-of-conference foes Colby and Bowdoin for doubleheaders on Wednesday and Friday, followed by two games with NAC opponent New England College on Saturday.