CASTLETON, Vt. – Coming off a statement win over nationally-ranked Cortland State last weekend, the Castleton baseball team is back in action with three games over the next two days.
The Spartans will play a single nine-inning contest at Coast Guard at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, before traveling to SUNY Old Westbury for a doubleheader against the Panthers starting at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
Castleton (2-2) capped off its first trip of the regular season with a 6-3 win over No. 2 Cortland State last Saturday in Salisbury, Md. With the win, the Spartans salvaged a split with the Red Dragons after dropping the first game of the day 13-4. One day earlier the Spartans split their season-opening doubleheader in Hampton, Va., downing host Apprentice 10-0 before falling to No. 10 Tufts 6-4 in the nightcap.
The Spartan pitching staff tallied 40 strikeouts over the first 35 innings of the season. Davis Mikell fanned nine in a complete game victory over Cortland State, while Devin Hayes picked up the win over Apprentice with 10 strikeouts over 7.0 shutout innings. Michael LaBeau struck out six and allowed just one earned run over 5.0 innings in the loss against Tufts. Luke Salerno was impressive in his first outing of the season, striking out five without allowing an earned run in three innings of relief against Cortland State.
Mikell went 7-for-17 on the trip with an RBI and four runs scored to lead the offense. Deagan Poland knocked a base hit in each of the first four games and went 7-for-19 with three RBI, three runs scored, and two stolen bases, while Dillon Benham drove in four runs and stole a base on his way to a 5-for-16 week at the plate. Zach Bahan blasted a grand slam against Cortland State and came away with a team-high six RBI. Jonathan Lindau went 7-for-18 and threw out three base-stealers in three starts behind the plate.
Coast Guard (6-7) is coming off a pair of losses to Mitchell and Becker by a combined score of 30-5. Before that, the Bears were winners of six of their last seven and went 6-2 during their Florida trip with convincing wins over Merchant Marine, Anna Maria, and Swarthmore.
The Bears are batting .245 as a team with 59 runs scored in 13 games. Junior Zach Serna leads the offense with a .375 clip and has recorded three doubles, two doubles, eight RBI, and eight runs scored in 40 at-bats. Senior outfielder Timbo Duncan leads the team with three home runs and 12 RBI, while senior Kyle Jackson is batting .271 with two doubles, five RBI, and six runs scored in a team-high 48 at-bats.
So far this season the Bears have a collective 6.51 earned run average with 76 earned runs in 105 innings. Colton Cannon leads the staff with a 1.10 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched. In three starts, Cannon is 1-0 with 21 strikeouts and two earned runs. Eric Vrissis is 2-1 in two starts with a 5.93 ERA, while Dan Finn, Dustin Reeder, and Brett Sullivan have also picked up wins on the mound for the Bears.
SUNY Old Westbury enters the weekend 6-5 on the season after going 4-2 on its Florida trip. The Panthers are coming off a 5-3 loss to No. 13 Johns Hopkins last weekend in Ft. Myers, Fla.
The Panthers have gotten off to a hot start offensively as the team sports a collective .304 batting average. Three starters have posted averages over .300, led by Tommy Ziegen's .442 clip, including a .468 on-base percentage and a .628 slugging percentage. Starting in all 11 games for the Panthers, Ziegen has recorded 19 hits, 13 RBI, 11 runs scored, and is 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts. Carlos Balmecada has a .346 batting average with four doubles and six RBI, while Jesse Russo is batting .341 with three triples, 11 runs scored, and seven stolen bases.
Adam Heidenfelder leads the pitching staff with four starts on the mound. Entering the weekend 0-2 on the year, he has posted a 4.02 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 15.2 innings. Daniel Aguilo has not factored in either decision over his first two starts of the season, but leads the rotation with a 2.51 ERA and has recorded 15 strikeouts in 14.1 innings pitched. Jason Espinal is 2-0 on the mound with one start and 10.1 innings pitched, while Trey Puzzitello is 2-3 in five appearances.
Old Westbury won the Skyline Conference last season and advanced to the NCAA Regionals, where it went 1-2 to finish the season 26-13 overall.