After losing in an 18-2 romp to Little East Conference (LEC) opponent Castleton University on April 25, the Owls had little room to spare if they were to make it into the postseason. In their April 28 senior day doubleheader at home against the University of Southern Maine (USM), the Owls hoped to break their nine-game losing streak and reinvigorate postseason prospects. Instead, the Owls fell short in both games and extended their losing streak to 11 games. The day started with a pregame ceremony honoring the Owls’ 11 graduating seniors. The seniors recognized were Mark Barrett, Junior Santos, Brendan Eaton, Trent Mayer, Dean Ruzich, Malik Pearson, Brendan Muhs, Patrick McKeighan, and Josh Beayon. 

GAME 1: Owls held to three hits in complete game shutout

In the first of two games, the Huskies’ Bryce Afthim took to the mound and pitched a gem. Afthim proved instrumental, as he pitched a complete game, only allowing three hits and striking out eight Owls over the course of the nine innings. Infielder first-year Otis Follet, Beayon, and catcher and pitcher sophomore Liam Conley were the only Owls to secure a hit throughout the game, each notching singles within the first five innings. 

With the offense missing in action, the Huskies took advantage, earning 13 hits and six runs throughout the game. The action started in the second inning when a double and single delivered an early 1-0 lead to the Huskies. The third inning saw another double and single increase the Huskies’ lead to 2-0. 

Matters began to unravel for the Owls in the fourth inning though, as the Huskies rallied for three runs off the back of two doubles, a single, and a hit batsman. The bleeding ceased for the Owls following the fourth, as The Huskies wouldn’t score again until the eighth inning; only securing a pair of doubles in that time. 

The eighth inning saw yet another scoring opportunity for the Huskies. A single, followed by a failed pickoff attempt put the Huskies just 90 feet away from a 6-0 lead. A sacrifice bunt plated the runner and induced a pitching change. First-year starting pitcher David Floyd left the mound having only earned one strikeout and conceded 11 hits, as well as 5 earned runs to the Huskies. 

In the end, the Huskies took the first game of the doubleheader 6-0. 

GAME 2: Late-inning Huskies rally crushes KSC comeback bid

The second game of the day also started off rough for the Owls. First-year starting pitcher Jake Jachym took to the mound and was met with an early offensive spree from the Huskies. A fielding error put the Huskies’ leadoff man on base, and the second batter reached on a fielder’s choice. The Huskies got another early lead as infielder and outfielder Kyle Douin slashed a double to right center field, plating two runs. Douin later crossed the plate following another double, increasing the Huskies’ lead to 3-0. The damage continued when another run was scored from a single, padding the Huskies’ lead to a solid 4-0 before the inning’s end. 

Fortunately, the Owls’ offense awoke in the bottom of the second inning, earning their first runs of the day. The Owls strung together three singles off the bats of Beayon, Eaton, and first-year catcher and pitcher Evan Cali, with Cali earning the RBI. The excitement wouldn’t end there though, as Eaton ended up stealing home plate, decreasing the Owl’s deficit to 4-2. 

The Owls’ luck continued into the following innings, as Jachym held the Huskies scoreless from the third to fifth innings, only allowing three hits. The bottom of the fifth inning ignited hopes of a comeback bid. After a single by Barrett, Ahlers smashed a two-run homer to left-center field, tying the game up 4-4. However, the momentum wouldn’t continue, as the next two batters struck out swinging. 

With the lead in sight for the Owls, Jachym failed to keep the Huskies at bay in the sixth. A leadoff double, followed by two singles and a fielder’s choice put USM back in the lead at 6-4. Jachym left the mound thereafter, having allowed four earned runs and ten hits across just over five innings pitched. 

The Owls failed to respond offensively in the bottom of the sixth, with their side going in order. The top of the seventh saw the Huskies pile on more runs, as first-year pitcher Joe Schlehuber lost control of the mound. Schlehuber allowed two walks and a hit batsman, loading the bases for the Huskies with just one out. Outfielder and pitcher sophomore Shea Zina took to the mound in the jam. Zina allowed a single, plating two runs for the Huskies. After the single, a fielding error added on an additional run. USM’s lead now stood at 9-4 going into the bottom of the seventh. 

The bottom of the seventh showed the Owls decreasing their deficit by two runs despite not getting a single hit. A hit batsman, a walk, a fielder’s choice, and an error scored their first run of the inning. Following the string of luck, a wild pitch plated another run, with the score now standing at 9-6 Huskies.

The Huskies added their tenth run from an RBI double in the eighth, sustaining their lead. Meanwhile, the Owl’s offense remained quiet. In the closing innings, their side went in order twice, closing out the game on a 10-6 loss. 

The Owls will now face the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth away in a May 5 doubleheader. 


Nathan Hope can be contacted at

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