NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Castleton baseball team claimed an early lead and never looked back en route to an 11-4 victory over Coast Guard on Friday afternoon at Nitchman Field.
With the win, Castleton improved to 6-6 on the season. Coast Guard fell to 6-6 after the loss.
Jonathan Lindau cranked his first home run of the season and finished with three RBI and a run scored to lead the Spartans offensively. Dillon Benham, Davis Mikell, and Pat Mumford each tallied two hits, while Deagan Poland drove in four runs on a hit and two walks. The Spartans took advantage of 10 walks and eight hit by pitches in the win.
Joe Gratton got the start and tossed six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts to earn his third win of the season.
Castleton came out aggressive with three runs in the top of the first. Poland reached on a fielding error and advanced to third on a single through the right side by Benham. Mikell followed with an RBI single to right field and later stole second to force a throw down as Benham raced home from third on the play. Lindau capped the opening frame with an RBI double to left center to give the Spartans an early 3-0 lead.
The Spartans used patient hitting in the second, working four walks to force pressure on the defense. A failed pickoff attempt at first base by the Bears' pitcher allowed Poland to score from third, but Castleton made two outs on the base paths to only come away with one run. Poland stretched the Spartans' lead to 5-0 in the top of the third after getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Coast Guard got on the board in the bottom of the third with two runs on two hits. Kyle Moore led off with a single and Luke Thompson walked before both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Cordes. Will Stephens poked an RBI single to left field and Jon Pressley brought Thompson home on a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Castleton tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to extend its lead back to five runs. Alex Borsari was hit by a pitch and Mumford reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners. Borsari scored on a balk by the Bears' pitcher, before Mumford came around to score on an RBI groundout by Poland to give the Spartans a 7-2 advantage.
The Bears plated single runs in the bottom of the fifth and seventh innings to stay within striking distance at 7-4, but the Spartans responded with a pair of runs in each of the last two innings to pull away. Poland drove in two on a two-out single with the bases loaded in the eighth, before Lindau closed out the scoring with a two-run bomb to center in the ninth.
Garrett Moran needed just 14 pitches to cruise through a scoreless ninth and secure the 11-4 victory for the Spartans.
Castleton returns to action at 3:30 p.m. on Monday to face Clark University in the first of 10 games scheduled over spring break.