VERO BEACH, Fla. ---- Jake Stearns (Plymouth) spun a two-hitter and Kevin Huscher (Middleboro) clubbed a pivotal two-run double as the Massasoit baseball team knocked off NJCAA Division I opponent Marshalltown CC (Iowa), 4-1, on Wednesday afternoon at Historic Dodgertown.
Stearns (1-0) went the distance, striking out five and walking two. The southpaw sophomore really got in a groove in the later innings. After yielding his lone run in the second, Stearns allowed just three base runners the rest of the game and retired the side in order in four of the final five frames.
"(Stearns) was dominant today," head coach Tom Frizzell said. "If he continues to pitch like that, he is going to win a lot of games for us.
"What was really good to see from Jake was that even though he was shaky the first two innings, he was getting out of trouble. Then he really bared down and was in complete control the rest of the way."
Trailing 1-0, Massasoit put up a three-spot in the last of the fifth, which was all the offense Stearns would need.
Evan McSherry (Halifax) put things in motion for the Warrior offense, when the freshman slapped a base hit to left to start the fifth, breaking up a no hitter by Marshalltown starter Austin Gridley (2-1).
"McSherry's hit for us was big," Frizzell said. "He hung in there on a tough lefty on lefty matchup. We were no hit up to that point."
After Jon Hurley (Plainville) drew a walk, a Marshalltown (10-7) miscue allowed Massasoit's first run to touch home. Up next was Huscher, who roped a two-run double to give the Warriors a lead they would not relinquish.
In the sixth, Massasoit tacked on an insurance run, when Jimmy Lawless (Hull) scored on another Marshalltown error.
Marshalltown's only threat against Stearns after the second frame came in the sixth. Following a strikeout to start the inning, the Tigers put runners on first and second by way of a single and walk. But Stearns buckled down and escaped as his infield spun a 6-4-3 double play to keep the lead intact and Marshalltown off the scoreboard.
"We played unbelievable today," Frizzell said. "We only allowed two hits and our defense turned three double plays. Our offense only had three hits, but we had seven walks and a hit batter. Their lefty threw hard but was wild. We just took advantage of what they gave us and got it done today."
McSherry, Husher and Lawless accounted for the three Massasoit hits on the day. Tyler Morini (Plymouth) reached base in all three of his plate appearances, walking twice and being hit by a pitch.
Gridley was saddled with the loss for the Tigers, logging four innings, striking out five and walking seven.
Massasoit plays a doubleheader on Thursday, facing Ontario at 10 a.m., followed by Westchester CC at 4 p.m.