By: Nick Blaszczak, Student Journalist
BANGOR – The Husson Eagles (3-5) returned from Spring Training to capture the program’s earliest home opening win with a 9-7 victory over the Bates Bobcats (5-7) Sunday afternoon at the Harold Alfond Diamond. Led by Junior centerfielder Christian Corneil, the Eagles rallied past the Bobcats.
Husson struck first in the non-conference matchup on a passed ball. Andrew Curran crossed home plate for the first of four times on the senior captain’s productive afternoon to give the Eagles an early 1-0 lead.
Bates tied the game in the top of the second inning on a fielder’s choice to the pitcher, Robert Graff. Brendon Canavan came in to knot the game at one apiece. Following the run, Graff settled down and struck out Joe Dinoto to end the frame. Husson narrowly escaped trouble as the Bobcats were threatening with the bases loaded and one out prior to the fielder’s choice.
The Eagles would not be as fortunate in the fourth frame.
Graff worked his way into a jam quickly with a hit batsman and a walk. Berto Diaz found himself in a prime position to drive in yet another run for the Bobcats with one down and runners on first and second. Diaz singled to the left side but Graff thought he could beat him and rocketed a throw to first.
The ball went sailing allowing Canavan to score and Samuel Warren to make his way to third. Diaz advanced to second on the throwing error. A Ryan McCarthy walk set the table for John Dinucci who singled up the middle plating Warren and Diaz to give the Bobcats a 4-1 lead.
In the bottom half of the fourth, the base running by Ryan Rebar allowed the Eagles to begin mounting a comeback. Rebar singled to center, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Corneil hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Rebar to make it a 4-2 ballgame.
In the fifth inning, Husson held Bates scoreless before evening the game at four. Curran led the inning off with single to shortstop Asher MacDonald who returned the favor of an error with an overthrow. Curran advanced to second on the overthrow where JT Whitten would drive him in on a single up the middle. Rebar kept the momentum going with a double down the right field line that would score Whitten to tie the game at four apiece.
In the sixth, Dinucci came up clutch yet again for the Bobcats with two outs. Knowing that Dinucci teed off on Graff earlier for two runs, Eagles’ head coach Jason Harvey pulled the plug on his starter. Ben Walls came in for relief, to no avail, Dinucci singled to left plating Eric Vilanova to give the Bobcats a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Husson powered back thanks to Corneil who instigated the rally with a double to left field. Alex Chapman moved Corneil over with a sacrifice bunt where Curran would cash in to knot the game at five apiece. Curran laid down a suicide squeeze that created a fielding error allowing Corneil to score and Curran to get to first. The Eagles threatened with two men in scoring position off a single by Mike Wong and subsequent ground out that put runners at second and third with two outs.
Julien Boone rose to the occasion with a two-RBI single to right field, making it a 7-5 ballgame. Husson claimed their first two-run lead of the game and never looked back. The Eagles added a couple of insurance runs in the seventh from Wong and Whitten that scored Corneil and Curran. Husson finished off the Bobcats 9-7.
According to Nathan Cram, coach Harvey says lack of offense hindered the Eagles in Spring Training games.
“At the end of the day we just didn’t come up with some hits, one or two hits here or there. We could’ve easily been 4-3, or 5-2, then we really would’ve ended on a high note,” said Harvey.
However, the bats were not an issue for the Eagles in Sunday’s contest, notably for Corneil who finished the day 2-for-3 shattering a cold spell that kept him hitless in 15 plate appearances during Spring Training.
Both starting pitchers received a no decision with Walls picking up the win for Husson and Justin Foley the loss for Bates.
Ben Holmes earned his first save of the season.
Bates will look to turn things around on Saturday when they play host to the Salem St. Vikings (4-7) for a doubleheader. Game-times are set for 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Husson will also be hosting a doubleheader, the Norwich Cadets (1-11) hit the diamond on Saturday for a showdown against the Eagles. Game-times are slated for 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.