BANGOR, Maine – Husson University advanced to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) baseball championship with a 3-1 win over Castleton Saturday afternoon in the NEAC East Division final behind Dan Beatham's (Dexter, Maine) complete game, six strikeout effort on the mound.
The Eagles, 27-15, claim their second NEAC East Division Title in three seasons and will advance to the NEAC Championship against Penn State-Berks on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8 on the campus of Castleton State College in Castleton, Vt. at a time to be determined later. Husson will play Penn State-Berks in a best two-out-of-three format to determine the winner of the conference and an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Spartans fall to 20-20 overall on the season but the loss does not close out their season as Castleton will host Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on Tuesday, May 3 at 4 pm.
Beatham improved his record to 5-2 overall on the season going the distance for Husson yielding six hits, one run (uneared), two walks and six strikeouts. For his efforts, Beatham was selected as the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Castleton starter Brandon Fay (So. Burlington, Vt.) was handed the loss on eight innings of work, four hits, three runs (one earned), four walks and five strikeouts.
Husson opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as Ethan Guerette (Sabattus, Maine) drove in a run on a fielder's choice to the right side of the infield plating Dylan Foster (Oakland, Maine) from third. Foster led off the frame with a single up the middle and advanced to third base on a fielding error to give Husson a 1-0 advantage.
The Eagles scratched home another run in the second sparked by Tom Crews (Bangor, Maine) on the basepaths, After Crews was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, the junior outfielder stole second and then third, his ninth of the season, to setup Cody McInnis' (Bangor, Maine) sac fly to right field for a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Crews scored his second run of the contest as catcher Kevin Rennick (Lincoln, R.I.) notched a sacrifice fly to center field giving Husson a 3-0 advantage.
In the ninth inning, Matt Eisenhuth (So. Newfane, Vt.) led off the frame with a single to second base and designated hitter Zak Mayo (Avon, Conn.) followed with a single to left field putting runners at first and second with no outs. After Aaron Zrenda (East Lyme, Conn.) struck out swinging and Adam Greenlese (Shokan, N.Y.) came in to pinch run for Mayo, first baseman Joe Borowski (Schenectady, N.Y.) reached first base safely on a fielding error by the shortstop allowing Eisenhuth to score. Greenlese was putout on the play at second.
Down 3-1 with two outs, Beatham ended the Spartans' rally forcing Peter Wagner (Brattleboro, Vt.) to ground out to second base to claim the NEAC East Division title.
NEAC East Division All-Tournament Team
MVP - Dan Beatham, Husson (Sr., P., Dexter, ME)
Kyle Vanidestine, Husson (Jr., OF, Bangor, ME)
Shawn Smith, Husson (So., OF, Winterport, ME)
Dakota Aker, Castleton (Jr., P, Scotia, NY)
Tyler Erickson, Castleton (Jr., P., Naugatuck, CT)
Brandon Fay, Castleton (Jr., P., South Burlington, VT)
Ben Goodall, Thomas (Jr., IF, Norway, ME)
Josh Nickerson, Thomas (Sr., IF, Stockton Springs, ME)
Jack MacVane, Farmington (Jr., C., Mechanic Falls, ME)
Josh Garneau, Farmington (Sr., 1B, South Portland, ME)