OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. – The Castleton baseball team fell to SUNY Old Westbury 3-2 in game one, before bouncing back with a 7-4 victory in game two to earn a doubleheader split against the Panthers on Saturday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Athletic Complex. With the split, Castleton moved to 4-3 on the season, while Old Westbury moved to 9-6.
Castleton got on the board first in the top of the third. Dillon Benham laced an inside-the-park home run to give the Spartans an early 2-0 lead. Deagan Poland was aboard on an infield single before Benham recorded his seventh and eighth RBI of the season.
The lead did not stand, however, as Old Westbury countered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the third. Jessie Matos and Jessie Russo led off off with back-to-back singles before David Hawley advanced both runners into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Tommy Ziegen followed with a single to right to score both runs and tie the game at 2-2. The Panthers added another run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI-single by Matos to take their first lead of the game, 3-2.
Michael LaBeau did not allow a hit beyond the fourth and struck out the side in the sixth but Castleton was unable to find an answer offensively as the Panthers held on for the 3-2 win.
Castleton was held to three hits on offense with the top of the order producing the runs. Benham went 1-for-3 with two RBI, while Poland and Jonathan Lindau each added singles. LaBeau saddled the loss on the mound with three runs (two earned) allowed on six hits while striking out six over six innings of work.
Russo reached base all three times with two hits and a walk to lead the Panthers offensively. Matos added two hits with an RBI and a run scored, while Ziegan finished 1-for-3 with two RBI. Trey Pizzutello earned the win on the mound for the Panthers, throwing all seven innings while allowing two runs (no earned) on three hits with seven strikeouts.
Castleton 7, Old Westbury 4
Castleton jumped out to an early lead again in game two. Poland led the game off with a single and was quickly in scoring position after stealing second. Benham bunted him over to third, before Davis Mikell scored him on a groundout to short to give the Spartans 1-0 lead.
Old Westbury responded once more in the bottom half, this time with a three-run home run by Ziegan. After Russo reached on an error and Hawley singled, Ziegan gave his team a 3-1 lead with one swing of the bat.
The Spartans erupted for five runs in the top of the second to retake the lead. Zach Bahan doubled to start the inning and Matt Jackson followed with a base on balls. Dylan Bailey then stepped in and went opposite field with an RBI double down the right field line. With runners on second on third, Nick Patierne scored both on a single to left center to give the Spartans a 4-3 advantage. Later in the inning, Lindau brought home two more on an RBI single up the middle to extend the Spartan lead to 6-3.
After Old Westbury scored on an RB-single by Liam Slattery in the bottom of the fifth, the Spartans answered with a run of their own in the top of the sixth. Poland worked his way around the bases with a walk and two stolen bases, before scoring on a throwing error to push the Spartan lead back to three, 7-4. Strong pitching and solid defense kept that score in tact the rest of the way as the Spartans came away with the game two victory.
After allowing three runs in the first inning, Luke Salerno settled in and finished strong. He moved to 1-0 on the season with four strikeouts over six innings, while yielding four funs on nine hits. Scott Michaels closed it out in the seventh with two strikeouts to earn his first career save in the win.
Lindau went 2-for-3 with two RBI to lead the offense, while Bailey also had two hits and an RBI. Patierne added two RBI of his own and Poland, Bahan, Jackson, and Pat Mumford each added hits and scored a run.
The Spartans will return to action Saturday, April 1, to open NAC play at home with a doubleheader against New England College.