The New England College Baseball team visited Husson University this past weekend for a four game series, with doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday. The Pilgrims would win the first game of the day on both occasions and would drop the second game each time. The split of the four game series would leave the Pilgrims at 16-6 (5-3NAC) on the season and would improve Husson to 7-11 (3-3 NAC).
The first game on Saturday was headlined by an outstanding pitching performance by Jamie Carey, who was dominant in his complete game shutout. Carey would only allow four hits while striking out three batters; the win was his fourth of the season. The Pilgrims would give Carey just enough run support; in the first inning Christian Aybar would reach on an error and later come around to score on a wild pitch. NEC would tack on an insurance run in the top of the third on a homerun by Manuel Andujar; this would be Andujar’s first homerun of the season and the first of the freshman’s career. This was more than enough support for Carey, as he would shut down the Husson offense for the entire game for a 2-0 NEC win.
The Pilgrims would begin the second game of the series in a very productive way as well, following a leadoff double by Christian Aybar, then Nick Powers would pinch run and come around to score on a stolen base. Xavier Nunez would hit a RBI double later in the first inning that would score Evan Delaney, who had walked earlier in the inning. However, that would prove to be all the offense the Pilgrims would have for the game. Husson would use a combination of pitchers, Cody Collins and Nolan Dousa, to shut down the offense and not allow another run. Husson would tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the first inning, pull ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the third and add on four more runs in the fifth inning to seal an 8-2 victory.
The Pilgrims would once again bounce back from a defeat the next day, having only lost two straight games once this season. The victory would once again be highlighted by an excellent pitching performance, this time by Nick Powers. Powers would pitch a complete game shutout, only allowing five hits and striking out seven batters. This win would improve Powers’ record to 5-0 on the mound this season. The Pilgrim offense would give Powers all the run support he would need in the top of the second inning when Andrew Castano would score on an error and the next batter, Jeam Castillo, would drive in Jamie Carey on a sacrifice fly. Once again this would be all the runs NEC would score, as they would win by another 2-0 score.
The final game of the weekend would be a back and forth affair, with the Pilgrims looking for a series victory and Husson looking for a split. Husson would strike first in the bottom of the third inning when they would put three runs on the board. However, it took the Pilgrims no time to respond, as they would put up six runs in the fourth inning. The six run inning was highlighted with RBI hits by Luis Atiles, Manny Alejandro and Manuel Andujar. Husson would respond by tying the game in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own, and then take the lead 8-6 in the bottom of the fifth. NEC would tie the game at 8-8 in the sixth inning when Xavier Nunez drove in two runs with a double. Jeam Castillo would give the Pilgrims a 9-8 lead with a homerun in the final inning of the game and Andujar would give an insurance run with a RBI single. Despite heading into the final half inning leading by two, NEC would allow three runs, and a walk off hit-by-pitch would end the game and give Husson an 11-10 win.
After splitting the four game series, the Pilgrims still have the most wins in the conference with five. However, conference-winning percentage has them in third place behind Castleton and Lyndon State. The Pilgrims next play on Wednesday afternoon when they travel to take on Lyndon State and take back first place in the NAC.
All stats via NEC athletic website.