BANGOR, Maine – The Thomas College baseball team split a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) doubleheader with Husson University on Saturday at the Harold Alfond Diamond at Dr. John W. Winkin Sports Complex. The Terriers took the first game, 8-7, before falling in the nightcap, 8-1.
Game 1: Thomas 8, Husson 7
Thomas wasted no time securing the lead, as the Terriers took advantage of a hit batsman, five hits, a Husson miscue and a walk to take a 5-0 edge in the top of the first. Senior Anree Benitez (Orlando, Fla. / University), who was plunked by an errant pitch leading off the inning, scored on a Derek Kane (sr., Natick, Mass. / Natick) triple to left center to put the Terriers on the board. Kane scored the Terriers' second run of the inning off a dropped ball by catcher Sam Huston after freshman Zach Mathieu (Oakland, Maine / Messalonskee) hit a ground ball to third baseman Ryan Rebar resulting in Mathieu reaching base on a fielder's choice.
Back-to-back hits by Nik Beeson (sr., Manchester, N.H. / Trinity) and Alex Curtis (so., Monmouth, Maine / Monmouth Academy) loaded the bases, causing Husson skipper Jason Harvey to make a call to the bullpen after starter Robert Graff threw one pitch to third baseman Brett Sommers (sr., Palm Bay, Fla. / Heritage). Sommers earned a walk off newly-entered Eagle pitcher Steven Hanscom that forced in Mathieu with the third Terrier run of the inning.
Beeson and Curtis made the game 5-0 on back-to-back hits by senior Joe Quinlan (Westbrook, Maine / Westbrook) and freshman Hank Vinall (Blue Hill, Maine / George Stevens Academy), leading Harvey to once again dip into his bullpen. Right-handed freshman Austin Smith got the Eagles out of the inning without any further damage when he got second baseman Aron Smestad (so., Corinna, Maine / Nokomis Regional) and Benitez on back-to-back strikeouts and Kane to groundout to first baseman JT Whitten.
The Eagles responded right away in the bottom half of the inning when Andrew Curran was issued a lead-off walk by Thomas starter Isiah Fleming (sr., Fairfield, Maine / Lawrence), advanced to second on a Whitten single up the middle before scoring on a RBI single through the right side by Julien Boone. Both Whitten and Boone advanced to second and third off a single down the right field line by Rebar and Whitten scored on a RBI fielder's choice by Zach Sugar cutting the Terrier lead to three, 5-2.
Thomas added single runs in the second, third and fourth innings off a fielder's choice by Curtis, a double by Beeson and a wild pitch making the game 8-1.
Trailing 8-1 in the bottom of fifth, the Eagles scored five times on four hits and one Terrier miscue. Boone led off the inning with a single through the left side, advanced to second on Rebar's second hit of game, a single to right center, and scored on fielder's choices by Zach Sugar and Sam Huston.
Huston advanced to second after Fleming issued a walk to Christian Corneil before allowing a two-out, two-run triple to right center to Cam Archer that resulted in Fleming's exit from the game. Thomas head coach Greg King called for closer Dominic Esposito (jr., Portland, Maine / Deering), who preceded to allow a two-run inside the park homerun to right center to Curran.
The Eagles would get the tying run on when shortstop Mike Wong reached first on a fielding error by Sommers. Wong stole second before Esposito got Whitten to ground out to Smestad to end the Eagle threat in the fifth.
Ryan Allender held Thomas scoreless in the sixth as the Eagles threatened the Terrier lead once again in the bottom half of the inning when Boone led off the inning with a singled through the right side and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rebar. He was stranded at second, however, when Esposito sat Sugar and Huston down on strikes to get out of the inning.
Thomas loaded the bases in the seventh with one out off a dropped third strike by Huston, a Kane single up the middle and a Mathieu single through the left side chasing Allender from the game. Husson closer Ben Holmes entered the game and got the Eagles out of the jam. He got Beeson to hit into a fielder's choice after Wong decided to get the force play at home and stuck out pinch hitter Matt Romandetti (sr., Palm Bay, Fla. / Palm Bay) on a called third strike.
Husson once again had another chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh after pinch hitter Alex Chapman walked to lead off the inning but Esposito got Archer to ground out, Curran to fly out and Wong to pop out to end the game.
For the Eagles, Boone went 3-for-4 with a run and a RBI, Archer was 2-for-3 with a three bagger and two RBI while Rebar added two hits to the Husson offense. Graff picked up his second lost on the season after allowing five earned runs on three hits. Smith pitched three innings of relief allowing two runs (one earned) off five hits with three punch outs. Allender yielded three hits, one earned run with a walk while fanning three over 3 1/3 innings.
For the Terriers, Beeson was 3-for-5 with a run, a RBI and a two-bagger, Kane was 3-for-4 with a three bagger, a RBI and a run scored while Quinlan and Vinal each had two hits apiece. Fleming pitched 4 2/3 innings to earn his first win of the season while allowing nine hits, six earned runs with three walks and three punch-outs. Esposito allowed two hits, one earned run with a walk while fanning two over 2 1/3 innings for his second save on the season.
Game 2: Husson 8, Thomas 1
Thomas jumped out to an earlier 1-0 lead when Husson starting pitcher Ben Walls issued a walk to third baseman Michael De Los Santos (so., Robstown, Texas / Robstown) with the bases loaded.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of first, the Eagles got on the board with two runs off three hits and a Terrier miscue to take the lead. Curran lead off the inning with a double to left center, advanced to third on ground out to Smestad before scoring on a Whitten single up the middle. Whitten came around to score on a Boone single to right field.
The Eagles added two runs each in the third, the fifth and the sixth making the game 8-1.
For the Eagles, Huston was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored and three RBI while Boone, Whitten and Curran each had two hits in the game. Walls pitched a complete-game six-hitter allowing one earned run with three walks and three punch outs for the win.
For the Terriers, Mathieu was a perfect 2-for-2 with a walk while Kane, Beeson, sophomore Tristan Pena (Portland, Texas / Gregory-Portland) and freshman Isaiah Arana (Orlando, Fla. / Timber Creek) accounted for the other four hits in the setback. Sophomore Matt Rutherford (Saco, Maine / Thornton Academy) took the lost after yielding eight hits, four earned runs with a walk over three innings.
The Eagles will be back in action on Wednesday, April 6 when they travel to Larry Mahaney Diamond for a 4 p.m. non-conference game with Saint Joseph's College of Maine. Thomas hosts the University of Maine at Farmington for a NAC doubleheader on Tuesday, April 5. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.