SALISBURY, Md. – The Castleton baseball team topped nationally-ranked Cortland State in game two of today's doubleheader, 6-3, to salvage a split with the Red Dragons after dropping the opener 13-4 on Saturday afternoon at SU Baseball Field on the campus of Salisbury University.
With the split, Castleton moved to 2-2 on the season while Cortland State, which is ranked No. 2 nationally in the latest poll by D3baseball.com, moved to 12-3.
Castleton 4, Cortland State 13
Castleton, the away team for the opening contest, scored four runs in the top of the first off the bat of Zach Bahan. After Deagan Poland reached first base on a defensive miscue, Dillon Benham reached on a fielder's choice and was quickly on third thanks to back-to-back singles from Jonathan Lindau and Davis Mikell. With the bases loaded, Bahan roped an opposite field home run over right field to give the Spartans an early 4-0 lead.
Cortland State shifted momentum back to its side in the home half of the first, sending nine batters to the plate and plating six runs. Jon Warner, Paul Dondero, and Steven Figueroa worked walks to load the bases before Patrick Schetter singled up the middle to score Warner. Justin Teague was hit by a pitch and Nate Budge popped a sacrifice fly to right to close the gap to just one at 4-3, before Matthew Personius gave the Red Dragons a 5-4 lead with a bases-clearing double. He later scored on a pair of wild pitches to make the score 6-4 and they never looked back.
The Red Dragons chased Castleton starting pitcher Charles Stapleford after scoring three more runs in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 9-4. After adding single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to make the score 11-4, Sean Getman capped off the scoring with a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth.
Bahan's four RBI led the Spartans offensively, while Poland and Lindau each went 2-for-4. Mikell and Dylan Bailey each added a hit in the contest.
Stapleford was handed the loss after throwing two innings while allowing nine runs (seven earned) and scattering six hits. Luke Salerno came on strong in relief, striking out five while allowing one run (unearned) over three innings of work. Joe Gratton threw the sixth and seventh innings, before Cameron Goulet pitched the eighth for the Spartans.
Teague went 2-for-2 with a double and three RBI to lead Cortland State offensively, while Schetter went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Jeff Cooke earned the win on the mound for the Red Dragons, throwing six innings and allowing four runs (three earned) with seven strikeouts.
In his first career start on the mound, Mikell tossed a complete game with nine strikeouts while allowing just three runs (one earned) on seven hits to earn the victory.
The No. 1 and 9 batters led the Spartans offensively, with Poland and Pat Mumford each recording three hits and an RBI. Dillon Benham went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs while Henrik Barbin also finished 2-for-3 in his first career start at first base.
Cortland State took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Warner led off with a single through the left side and later advanced to third on a fielding error up the middle. Warner scored two batters later to plate the game's first run.
Castleton, playing game two as the home team, answered quickly in the bottom of the first. Poland singled to start the game and then stole second. Benham drove him in with an RBI single through the left side to tie the game at 1-1.
After Getman homered to give Cortland State a 2-1 lead in the top of the second, Mikell settled in to strike out six and allow just one hit over the next four innings.
Castleton took control with four runs in its home half of the second. After Barbin singled and Bailey doubled into left center field to put runners on second and third, back-to-back RBI singles from Mumford and Poland gave the Spartans a 3-2 lead. Benham followed with a two-RBI single into right field to extend the Spartans lead to 5-2.
Mumford and Poland were back at it again two innings later. Mumford reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a defensive error, before Poland advanced him to third on a bunt single. With runners at the corners, Benham grounded into a double play but scored Mumford from third to give the Spartans a 6-2 lead.
Cortland State chipped away with one run in the top of the seventh and brought the tying run to the plate, but Mikell forced a ground out to work out of the jam. Still leading 6-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Mikell shut the door with a strikeout and a game-ending double play to secure the victory for the Spartans.