CASTLETON, Vt. – Behind a complete-game pitching effort and constant offense, fourth seed Husson University upset top seed Castleton University, 7-2, Saturday morning in the first game of the 2017 North Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament at Spartan Field.
With the victory, Husson improves to 22-18, enters the winners' bracket and will next play at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 7. Castleton falls to 30-8 and will have to return to action in the third game Saturday as it faces elimination.
Husson immediately put together back-to-back hits off Castleton starter Michael LaBeau (Bellows Falls, Vt.), eventually loading the bases in the top of the first inning. After LaBeau struck out Alex Chapman (Westford, Vt.) for the second out, David Hutchins (Hingham, Mass.) hit a ball deep into the hole at shortstop for a single, scoring Mike Wong (Lewiston, Maine) to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Chapman led off the third winning with a walk, Hutchins followed with a single, and Luke Covey (Milton, Vt.) singled into right-center field, scoring Chapman. Hutchins would score Husson's third run of the game on a double play grounder. With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, Covey singled and Conor Maguire (Ellsworth, Maine) sent a shot down the right field line for a double, scoring Covey to increase the Eagle lead to 4-0.
Castleton broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Mitchell Caron (Augusta, Maine) reached on an error and advanced to third on a double by Dylan Bailey (Duxbury, Vt.). Pat Mumford (Chippenhook, Vt.) followed with his own double, scoring both Caron and Bailey to cut the Spartan deficit in half. However, after a sacrifice bunt and a walk, Castleton could not continue the offensive rally, as Husson starting pitcher Ben Walls (Bar Harbor, Maine) earned a strikeout and a flyout to escape the inning.
Husson loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning, with Christian Corneil (Bangor, Maine) driving in Logan Rogerson (Brewer, Maine) on a sacrifice fly to left field. The Eagles put the game away with two more runs in the eighth inning, as Sam Huston (Bangor, Maine) was hit by a pitch, Corneil followed with a double, and Chapman sent a single up the middle to drive both men in.
Walls improved his record to 6-2 with the complete game victory, throwing 127 pitches, including 86 for strikes. He allowed eight hits, two walks, and two runs, one of them unearned, while striking out six Castleton hitters. LaBeau took the loss to fall to 5-3 after allowing 10 hits, three walks, and four runs in five innings, striking out five Husson batters along the way.
Husson collected 15 hits in the game, led by Rogerson with a 4-for-6 performance. Huston reached base all five plate appearances with a single, two walks, and two times being hit by a pitch, while four other Eagle starters earned two hits apiece.
Husson will face the winner of the game between New England College and Lyndon State, while Castleton will face the loser of that contest in an elimination game.