Spartans Take First Two Games at Husson, 6-1 and 2-1

Spartans Take First Two Games at Husson, 6-1 and 2-1

BANGOR, Maine – The Castleton baseball team padded its lead in the North Atlantic Conference with a doubleheader sweep over second-place Husson on Saturday afternoon at Alfond Diamond. The Spartans won the opening game, 6-1, before defeating the Eagles, 2-1, in the nightcap.

With the two wins, Castleton improved to 28-7 overall and 19-3 in NAC play. Husson fell to 21-16 on the season and 13-9 in league action.

Castleton 6, Husson 1

Castleton was led by its eight and nine hitters in the opener, as Jonathan Lindau and Josh Rylant combined to go 5-for-6 with five runs scored. Dillon Benham went 3-for-4 with a season-high four RBI in the win. Michael LaBeau continued his dominance on the mound, tossing his fourth consecutive complete game victory while lowering his nationally ranked earned run average to 1.10 with one earned run over 7.0 innings. The senior struck out a season-high eight batters and scattered five hits to improve to 5-2 on the season.

Lindau and Rylant sparked the offense in the top of third inning with back-to-back singles up the middle. Lindau was cut down at the plate on a fielder's choice by Deagan Poland, which advanced Rylant to third. Poland then put himself in a run-down at first, allowing Rylant to score from third to give the Spartans an early 1-0 lead.

Two hits and two defensive miscues led to three more runs for Castleton in the top of the fifth. Matt Jackson reached on a throwing error by the shortstop to start the inning, and he scored two batters later on a fielding error at shortstop. With Lindau being the benefactor on the second defensive miscue, Rylant singled up the middle once more to put runners on the corners. After Rylant stole second to get two in scoring position, Dillon Benham stroked a two-RBI single to centerfield to extend the Spartan lead to 4-0.

After Husson strung three straight hits together to get on the board with a run in the bottom of the sixth, LaBeau induced a key inning-ending double play with the bases loaded to prevent any further damage. The big defensive play sparked the offense in the top of the seventh, as the Spartans issued the final blow with two more runs. Once again, Lindau and Rylant singled to start the inning. After Poland advanced both runners into scoring position on a groundout, Benham scored both on his third hit of the day. LaBeau fanned two more batters in the bottom of the seventh to secure the 6-1 victory.

Cam Archer reached base twice on a single and a walk with a run scored to lead the Eagles offensively. Ben Walls (5-2) suffered the loss on the mound for Husson, allowing six runs (three earned) on 10 hits with seven strikeouts over 7.0 innings.

Castleton 2, Husson 1

Castleton was again backed by a strong pitching performance in the nightcap, as Luke Salerno struck out seven and allowed one earned run on five hits over 7.0 innings to improve to 6-0 on the season. The Spartans trailed, 1-0, with four outs left, but struck single runs in each of the final two innings to steal the victory.

Husson scored the game's first run in the bottom of the fifth. Alex Chapman led the inning off with a double, and he scored on an RBI groundout by Matt Graciano.

The Eagles' only lead of the day was brief, as the Spartans formed a two-out rally in the top of the sixth to tie the game. After Poland and Benham both grounded out to start the inning, Zach Bahan worked a walk to give Castleton life. Mitchell Caron then pinch-ran for Bahan at first, and he came all the way around to score on an RBI double from Davis Mikell.

After Husson was set down in order in the home half of the sixth, the Spartans went back to work in the top of the seventh. Jackson led off with an infield single, before Dylan Bailey sacrificed him into scoring position with a bunt. Rylant continued his breakout day with another single up the middle, scoring Jackson to give the Spartans their first lead of the game, 2-1.

Chapman singled in the seventh and stole second to reach scoring position, but Salerno finished his performance with a game-ending strikeout to secure the 2-1 victory.

Chapman led the Eagles with two hits and a run scored. Jesse Colford (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season on the mound with two earned runs on five hits over 6.1 innings. Jacob Gauvin tossed the final two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen.

The two teams will complete the four-game series with another doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. on Sunday.