BANGOR, Maine – Thomas College and Husson University emerged as the two teams that will compete for the 2019 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Baseball Tournament title. The tournament champion will host Baruch College, City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) tournament champions, next weekend for the NAC Championship and automatic qualification bid to the 2019 NCAA DIII Baseball Championship. Northern Vermont-Lyndon (22-21) and UMaine-Farmington (12-23) exit the double-elimination tournament.
GAME 3: #3 Thomas 6 / #4 UMF 3 BOX SCORE
Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning in a 3-3 deadlock, the Thomas College Terriers (13-23) had an explosive at bat to surge past the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Beavers, 6-3, in Game 3 of the 2019 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Baseball Tournament hosted at Husson University. With the victory, the Terriers stay alive and advance to Game 5.
The Beavers returned to the Alfond Diamond on Saturday afternoon with a vengeance as Chase Malloy stepped up to the plate and rocked the ball bouncing off the right center fence with enough time to jet past second and slide into third. A shot dropping in just in front of the center fielder off the bat of Jake Bessey, sent Malloy flying home to give UMF a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Terriers responded hitting back-to-back balls into the outfield from leadoff batter Alexander Miller and a double from Tyler Gee to score Miller and even the score in just two batters. Two batters later on a fielder's choice, Gee scored to lift Thomas, 2-1, over UMF. Ryan Pratt helped the Beavers escape the inning with bases loaded as he struck out the third batter to head into the second inning trailing by one run.
With two outs and two runners in scoring position thanks to a Zach Hartsgrove double and Malloy single, the Beavers got back in the game with a game-tying sac fly from Kevin Carter deep enough in center field to score Hartsgrove, 2-2.
After throwing 3.1 innings and 64 pitches on the mound for the Beavers, Ryan Pratt was relieved in the middle of a pitch count, by teammate Brice Springer in the fourth inning. Springer helped close out the inning with a pair of flyouts and continued into the fifth inning with a quick out on an attempted sac bunt which was thwarted by Springer getting out the lead runner, followed by a double play to head into the bottom of the fifth stuck in a 2-2 stalemate.
Thomas made their own pitching change with one out in the top of the sixth, subbing in Quinton Stebbins to take over the role for Dean Jackman after he fanned two batters in 5.1 innings. Stebbins was put in a tough position with runners on the corners as Danny Terhune stepped up with a blooper dropping right in between the second baseman and right fielder for a fielder's choice as they got out the runner on second, but Justin Rodrigue scored from third to make it a 3-2 game in favor of UMF. Stebbins struck out the final batter to get out of the inning.
Refusing to remain far behind for long, Thomas once again evened the score in the bottom of the inning with runners on the corners, John Villanueva pinch hit a hard grounder right up the middle to drive in Miller, 3-3. Springer struck out the final batter for out three, after walking Roberto Duran to leave three runners stranded with bases loaded avoiding another run from being scored to remain in a tie heading into the seventh.
With bases loaded in the eighth and only one out, all the pressure was placed on relief pitcher Kevin Carter who entered into the game for Springer, in hopes of helping the Beavers find two outs before a Terrier could tag home. Carter threw a promising strike on the first pitch working his way to full count, but Dominic Esposito prevailed for Thomas with a two-run hit through the right side to bring the score to 5-3. Adam Berger add an RBI as his ball found the grass out in center field to extend their lead to a comfortable 6-3 going into the top of the ninth with the Beavers' final at bat to spark a rally.
The Beavers finished out their season with a 12-23 overall record, while the Terriers advanced to Game 5.
THOMAS OFF THE BAT:
- Malloy and Hunter LaBossiere were consistent at the plate for the Terriers going 3-4.
- Hartsgrove smacked a double while scoring a run in a 1-4 performance.
- Bessey, Carter, and Terhune had the lone RBI of the game for Terriers.
UMF OFF THE BAT:
- Esposito drove in the most important RBI of the game with two off of a single while batting 1-4.
- Villanueva stepped in as a pinch hitter with one crucial at bat to drive in a run and walked in his second at bat as the new DH.
- Miller went 2-5, scoring two runs and walking once, but was left stranded in the field four times.
GAME 4: #1 Husson 6 / #2 Lyndon 0 BOX SCORE
Behind a complete game shutout performance by Jesse Colford, the top-seeded Husson University Eagles (25-14) defeated the second-seeded Northern Vermont University-Lyndon Hornets (22-20), 6-0, Saturday afternoon in Game Four of the 2019 NAC Baseball Tournament on The Harold Alfond Diamond at the Dr. John W. Winkin Sports Complex. Husson will advance to the program's 11th NAC Baseball Tournament final round in the last 15 years.
The Eagles broke the 0-0 deadlock after three innings with a single run in the top of the fourth off two hits. Kobe Rogerson led off the inning with a single to second base, advanced to third using smart base running off a David LeBlanc groundout, and scored on a sac fly by Luke Covey.
Husson added an insurance run in the top of seventh when Michael Schneider singled up the middle seeing the ball take a crazy bounce off the second base bag into left field, plating Ethan Stoddard, who led off the inning with a walk. Husson took a 2-0 advantage into the bottom of the seventh.
With two on and one out in the top of eighth, LeBlanc ripped a triple to left center, scoring both Rogerson and Nick Guerrette to push the Eagle lead to four before scoring himself on a Stoddard single through the left side. Stoddard later scored on Husson's second triple of the game by Alex Chapman to cap off the scoring, 6-0.
Colford improved his record to 7-2 with the complete game victory, throwing 131 pitches, including 89 strikes. He allowed six hits and one walk, while striking out six NVU-Lyndon hitters. Tyler Davis took the loss falling to 4-4 this season, after allowing seven hits, two walks, and six earned runs in 7.1 innings, while striking out six Husson batters along the way. John Boulay pitched 1.2 innings in relief, allowing just one hit with one punch out.
HUSSON OFF THE BAT:
- Rogerson went 3-4 with two runs scored and a double.
- LeBlanc was 1-4 with a run scored, a triple and two RBI.
- Stoddard finished the game by going 2-3 with two runs scored, a stolen base and an RBI.
NVU-LYNDON OFF THE BAT:
- Ben Rollins batted 2-4 with a double.
- Caleb Laroche and Noah Barton had 1-4 days.
- Zak Johnson and Tucker Root each went 1-3.
With the win, Husson forces the Hornets into an elimination game (Game Five) with Thomas. The Eagles enter into Game 6 on Sunday at 12 p.m. as the only team with an undefeated 2-0 record in the 2019 NAC Baseball Tournament. If the winner of Game 5 defeats the Eagles, the tournament will extend to Game 7 to determine an official champion of the NAC Baseball Tournament.
GAME 5: #2 NVU-Lyndon 2 / #3 Thomas 3 BOX SCORE
Thomas College sophomore Ryan Scepansky pitched 8.2 strong innings to edge Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, 3-2, despite a thwarted late comeback attempt by the Hornets in Game 5 of the NAC Baseball Tournament at the Harold Alfond Diamond on Saturday evening.
NVU-Lyndon threatened to strike first in the top of the third after Ben Rollins ripped a two-out double into the left field corner, but he was cut down at the plate on Cody Smith's single to center.
The Terriers managed to break through in the home half of the fourth in spite of getting just a single hit. On two outs, Connor Rittenhouse was hit by a pitch and Dominic Esposito walked. Rittenhouse came home from second on a throwing error for the first run of the contest.
Esposito later came in to score on a wild pitch as Bradly Smith struck out swinging, but the pitch escaped the reach of the Hornets' catcher, helping Smith reach first, and Esposito snuck in the back door to make it a 2-0 game. An RBI single from Alexander Miller chased NVU-Lyndon starter Tanner Moody off the mound as John Boulay entered the game with the Hornets trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth.
NVU-Lyndon threatened in the top of the sixth but the Hornets stranded two when Tyler Gee made a gracious running catch on a deep drive to left off the bat of Caleb Laroche.
The Hornets finally got to Scepansky in the top of the eighth with Jason Doris lifted a sacrifice fly to right, but Scepansky was able to escape further damage, 3-1.
Scepansky got the first two outs of the ninth before teammate Darren Kelly stepped onto the mound for relief, working his way out of loaded bases for his first save of the season.
Scepansky walked only two in his 8.2 innings of work, throwing 111 pitches.
James Mundy took the loss for the Hornets, allowing three runs – all unearned - on four hits in his 3.2 innings of work, while fanning two batters.
Thomas (14-23) advances to Sunday afternoon's NAC final round against host Husson University with first pitch scheduled for noon.
THOMAS OFF THE BAT:
- Miller finished 2-3 with an RBI and a walk.
- Gee, Ryan Kappelmann, and Adam Berger all hit 1-4 on the day.
- Gee got on base in all five at bats, but was left stranded each time.
NVU-LYNDON OFF THE BAT:
- Noah Barton finished 2-4 with a triple and one run scored.
- Codi Smith was 2-5 with a pair of singles.
- Jason Doris drove in the lone RBI for the Hornets.
~Courtesy of Husson Sports Information
Friday, May 3
Game 1: #1 Husson 10 / #4 UMaine-Farmington 1
Game 2: #2 NVU-Lyndon 10 / #3 Thomas 4
Saturday, May 4
Game 3: #3 UMF 3 #3 Thomas 6
Game 4: #1 Husson 6 / #2 NVU-Lyndon 0
Game 5: #3 Thomas 3 / #2 NVU-Lyndon 2
Sunday, May 5
Game 6: #1 Husson vs. #3 Thomas - 12:00 PM
Game 7: If necessary - 30 minutes after completion of Game 6