MANSFIELD Conn.- A sloppy seventh inning proved to to be the difference in the second game of Division III NCAA Regional action between Westfield State and Husson.
The Eagles scored six runs in the inning to turn a 3-2 deficit into an 8-3 advantage en route to a 10-3 victory.
“Today we came out and we battled,” Husson head coach Jason Harvey said. “We didn’t come up with some key hits until late in the game but [pitcher] Nate [Adams] kept us in the game and we capitalized on some of their errors.”
Westfield State took a 3-0 lead highlighted by junior Ben Campbell’s solo home run to deep center in the first.
But the scrappy Eagles, who battled back last night against Southern Maine, cut the Owls’ advantage to 3-2 on a two run blast by sophomore Tom Crews in the sixth.
Westfield State sophmore Sean Keane was pulled after hitting freshman Kyle Vanidestine. Freshman Cody Havely-Joundro followed with a bunt to move Vanidestine to second but the ball rolled in the rain soaked
grass and freshman catcher Carl Bettinelli airmailed the slippery ball the the right field fence. Junior Jeff Fields’ relay from skipped past third base, allowing a run to score and Havely-Joundro to advance to second.
An infield single by junior Chris Maguire pushed him to third, where he eventually came home on a long fly ball to right by senior Jeff Miller.
An unusual play ensued when Westfield State Keene threw to third to appeal that Havely-Joundro had left the bag early. Instead, his errant throw allowed Maguire, who had advanced on Miller’s fly ball, to score the third run of the inning.
“It was a let down character wise. We just didn’t think.” Owls head coach Ray Arra said of the pivotal seventh inning.
Husson tacked on three more in the inning and added a pair in the ninth to emerge with a 10-3 win.
The comeback was nothing new for the Eagles, who have shown the ability to rally all season.
“We’ve had a number of wins in the ninth inning we never give up with our guys,” Harvey said.
Adams (7-2) went the distance for his sixth complete game of the season.
The freshman allowed just three runs while striking out nine, as the Owls (23-17) finished with more errors (six) then hits (four).
“The first inning I felt kind of uncomfortable with the mound, with my feet and where I was landing on the mound,” Adams said. “But I cleaned my cleats off quite a few times and just tried to pound the zone and focus on the mitt and nothing else.”
Husson (32-14) will face the loser of the Trinity and Babson game, which is set to get underway at 5:25 tonight. It was the first NCAA tournament win in the history of the Husson baseball program.