Bangor, ME - Zak Johnson (East Hampton, CT) delivered the game's big hit and Jake Jourdain (Becket, MA) went the distance, only allowing three hits, as the Northern Vermont University-Lyndon baseball team downed Husson University, 6-1, to open North Atlantic Conference play Saturday afternoon. The host Eagles then earned a split by capturing the nightcap, 9-7. The Hornets are now 6-14 on the season, while the Eagles sit at 14-10 overall and 4-2 in the NAC.
Game 1 - NVU-Lyndon 6, Husson 1
The opener looked early on like it was going to shape up as a pitchers duel between Jourdain and Husson starter Ryan Allender. The Eagles scratched across the game's first run in the bottom of the second, when a pair of singles from Luke Covey and Michael Schneider and a walk to Nolan Brown loaded the bases with two outs. A wild pitch allowed Covey to score, but Jourdain escaped further damage by getting Nick Guerrette to ground out and end the inning.
After both teams went in order in the third, the Hornets were able to even things up in the top of the fourth. Caleb Laroche (Franklin, VT) laced a one out double down the left field line, then came around to score two batters later when Ryan Thornton (Essex, VT) singled to center.
Lyndon grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Leadoff batter Sam Ognenoff (Brattleboro, VT) was hit by a pitch. He moved to second on Ben Rollins' (Lincolnville, ME) ground out, and to third when Codi Smith (Hartford, VT) singled. After Smith stole second, both runners scored when Johnson doubled deep off the left center field wall. Johsnon then stole third and scored on a single from Jason Doris (Lincoln, RI), giving the Hornets a 4-1 lead.
The Hornets added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Rollins led off with a triple to center, then Smith followed with a walk and stole second. Johnson delivered a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Rollins and moving Smith to third. Smith came home when Doris grounded out.
That was more than enough support for Jourdain, who retired 20 straight batters in between Brown's second inning walk and Kobe Rogerson's ninth inning single. He earned his fourth win of the campaign, finishing with five strikeouts against only the one walk. Allender took the loss for Husson, going five innings and allowing four runs on seven hits. Ben Bernier allowed two runs on four hits over the final four innings.
Game 2 - Husson 9, NVU-Lyndon 7
Husson's bats came alive early in the nightcap. The Eagles touched up Hornet starter James Mundy (Brentwood, NH) for four runs in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Rogerson was hit by a pitch, then David LeBlanc singled and Covey walked to load the bases. Ethan Stoddard then doubled down the left field line, scoring Rogerson and LeBlanc. Covey then scored on Alex Chapman's ground out, and Ethan Daigneault singled home Stoddard to make it 4-0 Husson after one.
The Hornets promptly got three runs back against Husson starter Alex Brooks in the top of the second inning. Thornton and Noah Barton (South Burlington, VT) walked, then Tyler Roberge (Essex, VT) walked to load the bases. Ognenoff squeezed home Thornton to get the Hornets on the board, then Rollins delivered a double to left center, scoring Barton and Roberge.
Husson capitalized on an errant pickoff throw to push across an unearned run in the bottom of the second, making the score 5-3. Lyndon responded in the top of the third inning. With one out, Doris walked then Laroche doubled to left, chasing Brooks. Doris scored on a wild pitch by Husson reliever Jesse Colford, then Laroche scoored on a passed ball, evening the game at 5-5.
Stoddard singled to lead off the Husson third. After Chapman bunted him to second, Daigeneault and Brown were both hit by pitches to load the bases. Mundy got Guerrette to fly out to left, but Conor Maguire delivered a two-out bases clearing triple that chased Mundy. Rogerson greeted Hornet reliever John Boulay (Dighton, MA) with a run scoring single, giving the Eagles a 9-5 lead through three.
The Hornets again responded. Roberge led off the Lyndon fourth with a single, then moved around on a wild pitch and a passed ball. Smith reached on a two out error, allowing Roberge to score. Johnson then doubled to left, scoring Smith, before Colford was able to get Doris looking at a called third strike.
Those would be the final runs of the game, as Boulay shut down the Eagles the rest of the way. Lyndon did mount a threat in the bottom of the seventh inning. Johnson got things started with a one-out single off of Husson reliever Nolan Dousa. With two outs Laroche reached on an error, putting the tying runs on base and keeping the Hornets alive. Dousa was able to get Thornton to ground into a fielder's choice to end the ball game.
Colford picked up the win in relief for Husson. Dousa, the fourth Eagle pitcher, picked up the save. Mundy took the loss for Lyndon. Boulay kept the Hornets in the game with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief.
The Hornets and Eagles will wrap up their four game series on Sunday. The opening pitch for game one is secheduled for 11:00 am.