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Hornet baseball season comes to an end in NAC Tournament

Hornet baseball season comes to an end in NAC Tournament

Bangor, ME - The Northern Vermont University-Lyndon baseball team struggled to score on Saturday, dropping a pair of games in the double elimination North Atlantic Conference Tournament.  The Hornets (22-21) were shutout 6-0 by host Husson University (25-14) in the winners bracket final, then fell 3-2 to Thomas College (14-23) in an elimination game.

Game 1 - Husson 6, NVU-Lyndon 0

Hornet starter Tyler Davis (Barre, VT) was in command through the first three innings, yielding only a one-out double to Kobe Rogerson in the top of the first inning.  Husson starter Jesse Colford kept the Hornets off the scoreboard early as well.

The Hornets did mount a threat in the bottom of the second inning when they loaded the bases with no out.  Jason Doris (Lincoln, RI) was hit by a pitch leading off, then Caleb Laroche (Franklin, VT) singled to right.  Colford then misplayed Ryden Thornton's (Essex, VT) sacrifice bunt attempt and the bases were full.  However Colford was able to get Tucker Root (Middlefield, CT) to pop out and Noah Barton (South Burlington, VT) to hit into an inning ending double play to end the threat.

Rogerson led off the top of the fourth by beating out an infield hit.  Running on the pitch, Rogerson advanced all the way to third when David LeBlanc grounded out.  After Ethan Stoddard beat out another infield hit, Luke Covey lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Rogerson for the first run of the game.

Lyndon looked like they might have something going in the bottom of the sixth inning.  Ben Rollins (Lincolnville, ME) singled to left to lead things off.  After Codi Smith (Hartford, VT) flied out, Zak Johnson (East Hampton, CT) walked to put two runners on.  Colford was able to pitch out of it, however, as he retired Doris and Laroche.

The Eagles pushed across another run in the top of the seventh inning.  Stoddard walked leading off.  He moved to second on Covey's sacrifice bunt and to third on Alex Chapman's ground out.  Michael Schnieder's RBI single scored Stoddard to make it 2-0, Husson.

After the Hornets went in order in the bottom of the seventh, Husson broke the game open in the top half of the eight.  Nick Guerrette walked to start the inning, then with one out, Rogerson beat out an infield hit.  LeBlanc drove in both runners with a triple to deep left center.  Stoddard then singled back up the middle to drive in LeBlanc.  John Boulay (Dighton, MA) relieved Davis.  After striking out Covey, Chapman tripled off the right field wall to drive home Stoddard and extend the Eagle lead to 6-0.

Colford allowed base hits to Rollins and Johnson in the bottom of the eighth, but again stranded both runners.  Root and Barton reached with a pair of two out singles but Colford was able to retire TJ Santaw (Newport, VT) to complete the shutout and pick up the win.  He scattered six hits and struck out seven while walking one.

Davis absorbed the loss for the Hornets.  He allowed seven hits, struck out six, and walked three over 7.1 innings.

Game 2 - Thomas 3, NVU-Lyndon 2

After both teams went down relatively quietly in the first two innings, the Hornets had an opportunity to break through in the top of the third.  Rollins dropped in a two-out double down the right field line off of Thomas starter Ryan Scepansky.  Smith followed with a base hit back up the middle, but Terrier center fielder Alexander Miller gunned down Rollins at the plate.

Thomas looked like they might have somethign going in the bottom of the third when Miller got onboard with a one out single of of Lyndon's James Mundy (Brentwood, NH).  Tyler Gee followed with a base hit to center, but Hornet center fielder threw out Miller trying to go from first to third.  Ryan Kappelmann grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Thomas broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning.  After Mundy retired the first two batters, he hit Connor Rittenhouse then issued a walk to Dominic Esposito.  Adam Berger then lined one back to the box.  Mundy knocked it down but threw wildly to first, allowing Rittenhouse to come around to score.  Bradly Smith struck out, but reached base on the wild pitch, as Esposito came in to score.  Miller then delivered a single through the right side to drive in Berger with the third unearned run of the inning.  John Boulay (Dighton, MA) came in to relieve Mundy and retired Gee to end the inning.

The Hornets had anogher opportunity in the top of the sixth inning.  Rollins led off with a single and Doris drew a two out walk.  Laroche came close to tying things up as he lofted a deep shot down the left field line that Gee pulled in just in front of the fence.

Thomas had a chance to add to their lead in the bottom of the sixth.  Boulay retired the first two hitters but Berger singled, Bradly Smith reached on an error, and Miller was intentionally walked to load the bases.  Boulay struck out Gee to keep the Terriers off the board.

Barton laced a two out triple to deep right center in the top of the seventh.  The Hornets were again able to break through, however, as Scepansky got Santaw to ground out for the final out of the inning.

The Hornets finally broke through in the top of the eithth inning.  Rollins walked leading off then Smith singled to right.  Rollins moved over to third when Johnson filed out to right and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly from Doris.  Laroche gouunded out to end the Hornet threat and leave Lyndon trailing, 3-1.

Down to their final turn at bat, Root singled with one out, bringing the tying run to the plate.  Tyler Roberge (Essex, VT) entered as a pinch runner for Root but was thrown out at second when Barton grounded into a fielder's choice.  Dpown to their final out, Santaw grounded to short, but Barton beat the throw to second to keep the inning alive.  Darren Kelly came in to relieve Scepansky and walked Rollins on four pitches to load the bases.  A wild pitch allowed Barton to score, and moved tying run to third, but Kelly got Smith to fly out to right to end the ball game and the Hornets' season.

Scepansky went 8.2 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits to pcik up the win.  Kelly picked up the save.  Mundy was the hard luck loser for the Hornets despite not allowing an earned run.  Boulay pitched 4.1 scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit, to keep the Hornets in the game.

Barton and Jake Jourdain (Becket, MA) were named to the All-Tournament Team.  Barton was 7/13 from the plate with three runs scored over the Hornets' three games.  Jourdain was the winning pitcher in Lyndon's 10-4 win over Thomas on Friday.  He allowed one run and three hits over seven innings, striking out 11.

Thomas continues on to play Husson for the NAC championship tomorrow.  To win the tournament, the Terriers need to beat the Eagles two straight games, while the Eagles only need to win once.