LEWISTON – Danny White’s one-hopper took a bite out of Bates’ third baseman, coaxed a throw that sailed wide of first base to the catch fencing at Leahey Field and brought the Husson dugout to life with two out in the top of the ninth inning Monday.
“It’s a hit! It’s a hit!” one of the restless Eagles chirped.
No, it wasn’t. But every other ping of the aluminum in a 17-4 Husson rout seemed to be, which explained the team’s fervor to chalk up another safety in the scorebook.
Husson (25-14) hammered out 24 hits in the first seven innings, putting the Eagles within swinging distance of the school record (28) set two years ago against Rhode Island College.
Freshman Larry Hinkle, the fourth Bates pitcher, held Husson hitless through the eighth and ninth. The damage was done, though. White was already 3-for-6 when his hustle down the line left teammates clamoring for another gift single.
Sean Brawn went 4-for-5 and scored three runs. Adam Sheehan and Justin Spencer added three hits apiece for the Eagles, who will play Castleton State in the semifinals of the North Atlantic Conference tournament Friday in Windham. Spencer ripped two-run triples in both the sixth and seventh innings.
“It was nice to get that kind of offense and get ready for the tournament,” said Husson coach John Winkin.
Jason Harvey, Brian McGinley and Nate Ellis each slapped a pair of hits.
Sophomore designated hitter Jon Tefft of Lisbon struck twice for the Eagles against Bates reliever Peter Meisel in an eight-run sixth inning. He walked and scored a run in his first plate appearance. Later, Tefft ripped a double to the deepest part of the park, plating Spencer and Brawn.
“I’ve mostly been pitching and doing a little DH-ing,” Tefft said. “I just try to take advantage of whatever opportunities I have to hit.”
Husson went up 2-0 on a two-run double by Brawn in the first inning and tacked on four more runs in a two-out rally to punctuate the third. McGinley struck the key blow against starter Ben Thayer with a two-run single from the No. 8 hole in the batting order.
The lead ballooned to 14-0 before Bates greeted Andrew Patterson with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Chris Pease allowed only two hits in five shutout innings for Husson, retiring the side in order in the second, fourth and fifth frames.
Adam Worrall and Brian Mahoney each delivered two hits for Bates (10-17). The Bobcats have already clinched their fifth consecutive season of double-digit victories, a first in Bates baseball history, with six games remaining.