NORTHBOROUGH, MA – The University of Maine at Presque Isle Owls (1-7) dropped a doubleheader to the Newbury College Nighthawks (2-0). In what was the season opener for the Nighthawks the host team took the first game in extra innings 5-4, then shutout the Owls 5-0 in game two.
Game 1 – Newbury College def. UMPI 5-4 (9 Inn.)
The Nighthawks would strike first, plating two in the bottom of the second. Freshman David Center (Medford, MA) would double to drive in the first run, then later score on a groundout. The Owls would answer in the top of the third when Brady Rowe (SR, Halifax, NS) would lead off with a walk, steal second, advance to third on a wild pitch, and score on a ground ball. Ryan Zahoranski (SR, Shelton, CT) belted a homerun in the bottom of the third to put Newbury back up by two runs.
The Owls would manufacture a run in the sixth. Matt Cauchon (SO, Kingston, MA) walked and stole second, eventually scoring on a fielding error. Solomon Fast (SO, Phillips, ME) would lead off the seventh as a pinch hitter and double down the left field line. Rowe's single would put the tying run on third, and after he stole his third base of the game, the tying a go-ahead runs would be in scoring position with no outs. After a comebacker to the pitcher resulted in the first out, a walk would load the bases. A hard ground ball to third off the bat of Matt Curry (SO, Caribou, ME) would require a great play at third base to get the force there, but Fast would score tying the game. The Owls were unable to plate the go-ahead run, which would force extra innings.
Both teams would have runners in scoring position in the eighth but come up empty, with the Nighthawks posing the biggest threat. With runners on second and third and no one out, UMPI starting pitcher Tyler McLaughlin (SO, Fremont, CA) finished his strong performance by working out of the jam. After fielding a ball back to himself and converting on that out, McLaughlin would strike out the next hitter, then induce a groundball to second to give the Owls a chance in the ninth.
Rowe would once again spark the offense, this time leading off with a single. Jesus Garcia (SO, Jewett City, CT) followed that up with a bunt single, and a walk issued to Cauchon would load the bases. Newbury elected to play their middle infield back and Matt Curry's groundball plated the go-ahead run, but resulted in a double play, which would help minimize the damage to just one run in the inning.
The bottom of the ninth would start with a fielding error to get the Nighthawks in business. Center would steal second and third and tie the game by scoring on a passed ball. With first and third and two outs, Zahoranski would end the game with a walk off single to right field.
Ethan Mick (JR, Medway, MA) would get the win in relief, despite giving up six hits and two runs. The Owls' McLaughlin would not factor in the decision, but have a strong outing, giving up three earned runs in eight innings of work. He would strike out five and walk just two. Garcia would take the loss in relief.
Rowe ended the game three for four with three stolen bases and a walk. Zahoransky would lead the Nighthawks with a three for four performance of his own. He would homer, walk, score a run, and knock in two runs.
Game 2 – Newbury def. UMPI 5-0
In game two, three Nighthawk pitchers would combine for a two-hit shutout of the Owls. Andrew Bartlett (SR, Damariscotta, ME) would pitch well despite picking up the loss, striking out six while giving up just three earned runs, but the Owls were not able to muster any offense to support his efforts.
Craig Barnett (SR, Melbourne, Australia) was three for three with a double, a triple, and an RBI for Newbury. C.J. Ingraham (JR, Georgetown, MA) went two for two and scored two runs.
The two teams face off on Friday afternoon for another doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 3 PM.