Gorham, ME – Husson softball fell to the University of Southern Maine in two non-conference games on Thursday afternoon. Freshman Amanda Hendrickson-Belloguet (Friendship, Maine/Medomak Valley) drove in the game-winning run on a two-out single to deep right center field to propel the Huskies to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over the Eagles in the second game of the doubleheader at the USM Softball Field. The Huskies defeated Husson 5-3 in the opener to earn the sweep.
Southern Maine improves its record to 9-12 with the wins. The pair of losses halted a seven-game winning streak for the Eagles and drops their record to 12-6. Southern Maine's victories over Husson also marks the first time since the 2010 season that the Huskies have defeated the Eagles and the first time that they have swept the Eagles since 1996. USM is now 21-14 in the all-time series between the two schools.
Game 1: Husson 3, USM 5
In the opener, Southern Maine scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to overcome a 3-1 deficit to earn the win. Senior Stefanie Stockwell (Buxton, Maine/Bonny Eagle) earned her seventh win of the season allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks in seven innings. Stockwell struck out eight in the victory. Husson senior Amanda Ryan (Brewer, Maine) gave up three earned runs on 10 hits and a walk in six innings. Ryan fanned six batters.
Southern Maine struck first and led the Eagles 1-0 after the second inning. Junior Rachel Edson (Gray, Maine/Gray-New Gloucester) drove in the Huskies first run with an RBI ground out.
Husson tied the game in the top of the fourth with an RBI single from junior Jess Poulin (Albion, Maine/Lawrence) and went ahead 3-1 with two runs in the top of the fifth. Sophomore Mallory Conary (Warren, Maine/Medomak Valley) led off the inning with a single for the Eagles, before Stockwell retired the next two batters on a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout. With two down, sophomore Lyndsay Merrill (Bethel, Maine/Telstar Regional) blasted a two-run home run over the left field fence to put her team ahead 3-1. The home run was Merrill's fourth of the season.
After a scoreless fifth, Southern Maine struck for its big inning in the bottom of the sixth. The Huskies combined for four runs on four hits, while taking advantage of a Husson fielding error. Back-to-back one-out singles from Duross and Stockwell gave the Huskies runners on first and third. Pillar drove in USM's first run with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Duross for a 3-2 Eagle lead.
Stockwell moved herself into scoring position with her third stolen base of the season and then came around to score the game-tying run on an RBI single from Hendrickson-Belloguet. A Husson fielding error gave the Huskies runner on second and third with two outs. In the next at bat, Humphrey came on to pinch hit and stroked a two-run single to right field to put the Huskies ahead 5-3. In the top of the seventh, Stockwell worked her way around a lead off error to secure the victory.
Game 2: Husson 4, USM 5
Husson led the Huskies 4-3 after the first inning. The Eagles jumped on top of USM freshman starter Desiree Benner (Friendship, Maine/Medomak Valley) in the opening half of the first inning striking for four runs on three hits and two walks. Freshman Casey Lopes (New Bedford, Mass.) plated the Eagles' first run with an RBI single up the middle before sophomore Breanna Martin (Oxford, Maine/Oxford Hills Comprehensive) cleared the bases with a three-run double to center field.
Trailing 4-0, USM took back three runs in the home half of the inning. With one on and one down, freshman Samantha Crosman (South Berwick, Maine/Marshwood) cranked out a double to left field setting for runners at second and third. Junior Kristen Duross (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) drove in the first run with an RBI to left field. Freshman Allison Pillar (Hollis, Maine/Bonny Eagle) singled in a run with an shot to right field to score Crosman, while Duross advanced all the way to home on a fielding error during the play. Clinging to a 4-3 lead with Pillar on third and just one out, Husson junior Kayla Merrill (Bethel, Maine/Telstar Regional) got the Eagles final two outs of the inning on a pop up and a strikeout.
Following the eventful first inning both teams settled in with each pitcher keeping zeroes on the board through the next five innings. Benner faced bases loaded situations in the top of the second, third and fourth innings but was able to work her way out of each jam. After the fourth inning, Benner found her groove and retiring nine out of the next 10 batters while only giving up a single in the top of the sixth to Lopes. In the top of the seventh, Benner retired the Eagles in order setting up the late inning heroics.
Junior Lily Cooper (Lamoine, Maine/Ellsworth) led off the inning earning first base after being hit by a pitch and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Crosman drove in Cooper with an RBI single to center field to knot the score up at 4-4. Duross followed Crosman with a single of her own, while Pillar moved Duross and Crosman to second and third respectively with a infield ground out.
Merrill issued a walk to Husky freshman Danni Humphrey (Walnut Creek, Calif./Northgate) to load the bases, before Hendrickson-Belloguet drove in the game-winner with her only hit of the game. Husson right fielder sophomore Sarah Babin (Brewer, Maine) made a great attempt at the ball ranging adeptly to deep right-center field, but was unable to hold onto the ball for the out.
Benner earned the win allowing four earned runs on six hits and five walks over seven innings. She struck out six. Merrill suffered just her second loss of the season to stand at 7-2. She gave up 11 hits and two walks for four earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched. She struck out six.
Kristie Hawkins, Husson's head coach, said of the games, "We put together a pretty solid effort today but came up short in the long run. We struggled up at the plate today and that is what really got us down, and it was hard to dig out from that. Good things came from today, though. We had two solid games and we learned what we need to change for the upcoming weeks. We set ourselves up for success this weekend."
Southern Maine hosts Rhode Island College on Saturday (12:00 p.m.) in a Little East Conference doubleheader. Husson hosts Lyndon State on Saturday (2:00 p.m.) in a North Atlantic Conference doubleheader.