Nationally ranked Arcadia University snapped a 5-5 tie with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and went on to defeat Husson University 10-5 in an opening-round game of the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament on Friday at Skip Wilson Field in Ambler, Pennsylvania.
The loss ended a 15-game winning streak for Husson, now 24-16. Arcadia — rated fifth and sixth among all NCAA Division III teams according to two national polls — is 39-7.
Husson held two leads early in the contest, the first at 1-0 on a home run to left field by sophomore first baseman Jackson Curtis of Ellsworth with two outs in the top of the first inning.
Arcadia tied the game with a run in the bottom of the first, but Husson regained the lead in the top of the second on a two-out RBI single up the middle by sophomore right fielder Austin Snow of Blue Hill. That hit plated freshman third baseman Tanner Evans of Greenbush, who reached on a one-out single.
The host Knights tied the game in the bottom of the inning, then built a 5-2 lead with two runs in the third inning and another run in the fifth off Husson starting pitcher Cam Graham, a lefthander from Littleton.
Husson mounted a three-run rally against Arcadia starter Nick Fossile (7-1) to tie the game for the third time in the top of the sixth. Senior center fielder Ethan Stoddard of Old Town hit a one-out single, reached second base on a throwing error and came around to score on a wild pitch to cut the Eagles’ deficit to 5-3,
Senior catcher Tyler Parke of Bangor later slammed a two-run double to left-center field to drive home Evans and sophomore second baseman Akira Warren of Hallowell with what turned out to be Husson’s final runs of the game.
Pivotal point: Arcadia regained the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth with four runs on four hits, including RBI singles by Alex Madera and Zachary Sekelick. The Knights added an insurance run in the eighth inning on a two-out home run by Justin Massielo, and Nadel Booker earned the pitching save in support of Fossile with three innings of one-hit, shutout relief with six strikeouts.
Big takeaway: Much like last spring when Husson dropped its NCAA tournament opener to SUNY Oswego 17-6, the Eagles were able to generate runs but couldn’t contain their higher-ranked opponent’s offense.
Madera, Arcadia’s leadoff batter, had four singles in five at-bats with two runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases. Massielo added a home run, single, three runs scored and an RBI to the Knights’ 13-hit attack, while Sekelick had three RBIs.
Stoddard singled twice and scored twice for Husson, while Curtis’ home run and Parke’s double were the Eagles’ only extra-base hits.
Graham (5-4) yielded seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits with one strikeout, two walks and two hit batters over 5 ⅓ innings on the mound for Husson before getting relief help from Jake Gregoire and Alex Smith.
What’s next: Husson will face the loser of Friday’s second game between SUNY Oswego (29-10) and Elizabethtown College (22-20) at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in the first elimination game of the four-team, double-elimination regional. Arcadia advances to play the SUNY Oswego-Elizabethtown winner at noon Saturday.