MANSFIELD Conn.- The Eastern Connecticut Warrior’s powerful offense flexed its muscles against Husson, proving to be too powerful for even the scrappy Eagles to overcome.
Eastern crushed four home runs among its eighteen hits and knocked Husson out of the Division III New England Regionals with a convincing 18-3 win.
The Warriors grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first when Jim Schults helped his own cause with a solo home run to left. The sophomore, who was making his first start since May 5, threw his first complete game of the season and struck a season-best eleven. He finished 2-for-5 at the plate.
“Jimmy gave us the kind of performance we needed,” Eastern head coach Bill Holowaty said. “You have to hit the ball to get out of the losers bracket. We’ve been working towards getting our pitchers to pitch nine innings. We haven’t had a lot of complete games because we try to work our pitchers up a scale to get to the tournament and [have them] start pitching nine innngs.”
Seventh seeded Husson (33-14) responded in the bottom of the first, sending two runs across the plate to take a fleeting 2-1 lead.
Sophomore Ethan Guerette lined an RBI single to left center and senior Nick Arhers followed with a double on the next pitch to score Guerette.
But in the top of the second, sophomore Robert Perry clanged a two run home run off the base of the light tower in right field to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead.
Husson tied the game with a run in the bottom of the third. However the tie was short lived as Eastern scored a combined seven in the fourth and fifth innings to take a commanding 10-3 lead.
Perry’s second home run of the game, a line drive to left that bounced off the bottom of the scoreboard, was the blast that sheared the Eagle’s wings.
“[There was] a pretty nice jet stream out in left field, I was seeing the ball well,” he said. “I think the whole team was seeing the ball well today.”
Eastern poured on five more in the eighth off Husson’s bullpen. Sophomore Chris Morris (5-3) took the loss for the Eagles, allowing six runs in three and two thirds innings.
“We ran into a very good team today that I think can swing the bats with anybody in the country,” Husson head coach Jason Harvey said. “No matter who we threw at them, they hit the ball on a line. It was just a great game to be a part of and I think we just ran out of gas in the home stretch of the game.”
The Warriors (38-7) will take a short break and then face fourth seeded WPI (30-12) this afternoon to determine which team from the loser’s bracket will take on defending national champion Trinity tomorrow in the championship.
“I think its kind of fun because of the pressure,” Perry said of playing in the loser’s bracket. “We came in here expecting to win four in a row and now we have to win four in a row. We came off a thirteen game winning streak, so we can do it again.”