Mansfield, CT --- Senior Jordan Edgett (Lynn, MA) went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and the game-winning base-knock as he helped pace seventh-seeded Bowdoin to a 6-4 victory over #6 Southern Maine in the losers bracket elimination game of the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament hosted by Eastern Connecticut.
The Polar Bears (26-19), who earned their first-ever NCAA Baseball tournament victory, advance to tomorrow's elimination contest at 10 AM where they will face the loser of the #5 Western New England and top-seeded Wheaton game at 5 o'clock. The Huskies have been eliminated by their in-state rivals and see their season come to a close at 27-19.
Trailing 4-2 entering the seventh, Bowdoin nearly batted around and scored four times to take over the 6-4 edge that they would not relinquish. With the bases loaded, sophomore John Leferber (Branford, CT) jacked a single to right before Edgett hammered a two-run double to the deep part of centerfield.
After a plunked batter brought in another run, USM senior relief pitcher Dustin Stanton (Cornish, ME) got out of the jam with a double-play on a line-out.
It was with the momentum that Bowdoin reliever Henry Van Zant (Westport, CT) punched out the side swinging in the seventh and would retire nine of his final ten batters to shut down the Huskies and help the Polar Bears stave off elimination.
Bowdoin originally had the early 1-0 lead after junior Dan Findley (Duxbury, MA) drove in Edgett from third on a single to the shortstop.
Southern Maine came back in the bottom of the third and knotted the score 1-1 on an RBI solo base-knock to left with two outs.
In the top of the fourth, the Polar Bears promptly responded and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly with the bases juiced. Bowdoin looked poised to score more runs, but the USM starting pitcher Ben Ives (Portland, ME) made an outstanding individual effort to fire a laser beam to the plate and he induced a line-out to end the threat.
The Huskies took advantage of a miscue in the bottom of the sixth for the 4-2 margin as the scoring was highlighted by a sacrifice fly by freshman Jake Glauser (Goffstown, NH) and an RBI single by sophomore Matt Powers (Portland, ME).
Bowdoin sophomore Christian Martin (Lake Bluff, IL) started the frame and allowed the first two batters to reach before he was relieved by Van Zant, who got out of the sixth yielding one unearned run on a base-knock and tossed three frames of relief. Van Zant finished with five strikeouts and improved his record to 4-3.
USM junior Nick Douglass (Poland, ME) shouldered the setback for allowing the go-ahead runs to score as he drops to 4-2 overall. Stanton finished the contest for the Huskies and got out of a quandary in the top of the eighth with runners on the corners and one out to give his squad a chance to rally.
Findley and junior Tim McGarry (Kennett Square, PA) both finished with two safeties apiece for Bowdoin and Fidley chipped in with a pair of runs driven in. For Southern Maine there were no multi-hitters and they did not finish with an extra base hit.
The Polar Bears held the 8-7 lead in base-knocks overall.
Story by Steven M. Miller, Jr.