Bangor, ME - The Husson University softball team picked up two closely contested victories against out-of-conference foe Bowdoin College on Friday, scraping by with scores of 6-5 and 7-6.
The Eagles increase their overall record to 17-7 with the sweep, and they still have a perfect record in the North Atlantic Conference at 7-0. The Bowdoin Polar Bears fall to 16-10 with the pair of losses, and they hold a 5-3 record in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).
While Husson's pitching was solid on the day, it was numerous clutch hits which proved to be the difference in the wins. The Eagles scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning in game one to take a late lead, and they scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh in game two to walk-off with victory. Husson's Christine Connors (Brookline, NH) put an exclamation point on the sweep, lacing a pinch-hit, two-out single that chased home Casey Lopes (New Bedford, MA) for the come-from-behind triumph in game two.
Neither team was able to gain a hold of the advantage early on in game one, and the score would be tied 2-2 going to the top of the sixth inning. The Polar Bears put up a three-spot in that frame, capitalizing on a Cielle Collins single and a Husson error.
Husson would come up in the bottom of the inning and answer right back with a four-run rally, highlighted by a Lopes game-tying RBI single and a Jess Poulin (Albion, ME) go-ahead RBI double.
Husson pitcher Amanda Ryan (Brewer, ME) would finish off the complete game victory, stranding two Bowdoin runners in the top of the seventh inning. Ryan worked hard to earn her eighth win of the year, giving up two earned runs on 11 hits. She struck out four batters, and walked just two.
Kayla Merrill (Bethel, ME), Lyndsey Merrill (Bethel, ME) and Lopes all had two hits in the first game, while the Eagles combined to take seven bases on balls compared to just one strikeout as a team.
Emily Griffin, Katie Gately, Siena Mitman, and Cielle Collins all had two hits in the loss for the Polar Bears.
Both teams would come out with firepower in game two, resulting in a 4-3 Bowdoin lead after four innings.
Husson would tie the game in the bottom of the fifth, as Lyndsey Merrill drove in Alannah Healy (Brockton, MA) to make it 4-4. Healy had reached by knocking a one-out single in her first collegiate at-bat to start the Eagles' rally.
The Polars bears would re-take the advantage with runs in the sixth and seventh innings, which left the Eagles trailing by two going into their last-ups.
Sarah Babin (Brewer, ME) blooped a one-out single down the right field line to begin the comeback, and Lyndsey Merrill brought her home with a double in the subsequent at-bat to make it 6-5 Bowdoin.
Lopes would come up with two outs and the tying run on second base, and rip a line drive that made it into left field. Lyndsey Merrill was waved around third base, and she would score easily to tie the game at 6-6 with Lopes advancing to second on the throw home.
Husson head coach Kristie Hawkins would then call on Christine Connors, who had one hit in just two at-bats this season, to come in cold and pinch-hit with the game on the line.
Collins looked shaky on the first two pitches she saw, taking half-hearted checked-swings as she tried to bring herself up to game speed. She fouled a 1-1 pitch into the screen which brought her to her last strike, and it looked like the teams were destined for extra frames.
Collins then caught up to a 1-2 pitch that she lined into center field for a base-hit. Lopes would round third base with a full head of steam, and slide in just underneath the tag at home plate to seal the walk-off win.
"It was nice that we could utilize our bench, and they really came up big for us in both games," said Hawkins after the Eagles' celebration ended.
"Good things come from games like this, and we are hoping to carry this fire into the games tomorrow and into the next couple of weeks," she added.
Healy got the pitching win for the Eagles, as she went the last three innings in relief of Kayla Merrill. Healy gave up two earned runs on six hits, striking out one and walking a batter.
Lopes continued to swing a hot stick for Husson, going 3-for-4 in game two after a 2-for-3 showing in game one. She had three doubles combined in the doubleheader, and she knocked in three runs as well.
Adriane Krul, Marisa O'Toole, Nicole Nelson, Julia Geaumont, and Gately all had multiple hits in the second game to lead the Polar Bears.
Husson will look to keep momentum rolling with a twin-bill against NAC opponent New England College at the O'Keefe Field tomorrow (Saturday, April 19). First pitch of the two-game set between the Eagles and the Pilgrims will be at 1 p.m.