NORTON, Massachusetts — The Husson University softball team defeated Johnson & Wales 3-0 in game five of the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament (Norton Regional) on Saturday afternoon at Clark Field on the campus of Wheaton College to claim the program’s first spot in a regional championship game.

Husson (28-12) will take on host Wheaton College (31-8) on Sunday at noon and must defeat the Lyons twice to claim the regional title.

Johnson & Wales ended its season at 22-16.

In Saturday’s first game, Wheaton defeated Husson 5-1 to advance to the championship round.

In the second game, Eagles’ pitcher Kayla Merrill improved to 17-5 this spring with a two-hit shutout. She struck out eight.

Merrill took a perfect game into the bottom of the sixth before freshman Noelle Weiss, in as a relief pitcher, knocked a triple down the right-field line.

Losing pitcher Jennifer Corona gave up five hits and two runs (one earned) in 2 1/3 innings.

Husson scored the only run it would need in the second when Sami Schultz singled and advanced on consecutive wild pitches before scoring on a Haley Spiers single.

Lyndsay Merrill stroked a run-scoring single in the third and drove in the final run in the fourth inning.

JWU sent the game-tying run to the plate in the seventh after a two-out single by Emily Gorecki and Diana Amendolara was hit by a pitch, but Merrill got a strikeout to end the game.

In the opener, Lyons’ senior starter Noelle Christmas (9-1) scattered two hits over six innings. She yielded just one earned run and no walks alongside three strikeouts.

Sophomore Jillian Rocha pitched the seventh.

Kayla Merrill took the loss while allowing nine hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

The Eagles grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning with a two out rally. Lyndsay Merrill lined a double and Casey Lopes followed with a hard-hit RBI single through the left side.

Wheaton responded with three runs in the third inning on a Morgan Walsh sacrifice fly and Emily Berardi’s two-run single. The Lyons added two in the fifth on Caroline Fairbanks’ two-run double.

Hatch went 4-for-4 for Wheaton.


USM wins LEC title

At Gorham, Andrew Richards pitched a four-hitter in the decisive game, leading the University of Southern Maine to a 4-2 victory over Eastern Connecticut for the Little East Conference title and a berth in the NCAA regionals.

ECSU had won the first game 11-4 to force the finale.

Richards allowed two runs (one earned) with six strikeouts and one walk for the Huskies (31-13). Sam Dexter led the offense with a two-run homer and two singles. Devin Warren provided a solo homer and an RBI single.

Christian Budzik singled in a run for ECSU (23-17) to back losing pitcher Jacob Smith.

In the first game, Matt D’Orsi spaced eight hits and four runs to pick up the win. Tim Budd drove in three runs with two doubles and a single for ECSU.

D.J. Scavone hit a triple, double and single with two RBIs.

Paul McDonough doubled, singled and knocked in two runs for USM to support starter and loser Zack Bean.

Track and field

New England Championships

At Boston on Saturday, Ashley Donohoe of the University of Maine claimed the individual title in the women’s discus throw at the New England Championships.

The sophomore from Huntington Beach, California, uncorked a throw of 138 feet, 6 inches to help the Black Bears finish 13th among 41 teams. Donohoe’s throw beat runner-up Naloti Palma-Kaluma of Westfield State by almost two feet.

Jaclyn Masters of Auburn placed sixth the pole vault.

Among the men, Levi Frye’s eighth-place effort in the steeplechase and Mozai Nelson’s ninth in the 200 meters were the top efforts.